New Mexico Racing Commission Tables Decision on Sixth Racino
ALBUQUERQUE, NM—DECEMBER 6, 2018—In a unanimous motion Thursday, the New Mexico Racing Commission voted to table an expected selection of a winning bid for the state’s sixth and final racetrack-casino or if they would not issue a racino license this year.
Five organizations have submitted bids for the last racino license permitted under the State's tribal compacts. Three of the bids proposed racinos in Clovis, while the two others proposed facilities are in Tucumcari and Lordsburg.
Hidalgo Downs LLC, the group that proposed a Lordsburg-based facility, filed a petition last week, asking for a temporary injunction calling the feasibility study used by the commission "flawed."
As of midday Thursday, no judicial action had been taken on the petition, however the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office urged commission officials to table their decision in light of the litigation.
Tania Maestas, New Mexico's chief deputy attorney general for civil affairs and operations, told reporters the state would respond to the litigation next week and that the commission’s intent is to award the license.
A spokesman for the attorney general said in a statement after the meeting that the office "will continue to work with the racing commission as they resolve the threat of pending litigation to ensure integrity in their awarding of the state’s sixth racing license."
Paul Martinez, a member of the Hidalgo Downs group that filed the petition, told the Albuquerque Journal he and his colleagues are "pleased that (the commission) made the prudent decision to wait."
Among allegations made in Hidalgo Downs court filing are the feasibility study "marketing plan" in support of Clovis, N.M. locations, promoted a bid submitted by Las Vegas, Nevada based Full House Resorts “does not appear to meet the minimum requirements for a comprehensive, standard and objective feasibility study."
Covergence Strategy Group, a New Orleans based consulting firm that authored the report, declined comment.
Full House Resorts, which has submitted one of the three Clovis racino bids, said it is disappointed by the delay, but it "applauds the Racing Commission for taking the prudent path to resolve this matter."
About 200 people attended the meeting, and many expressed audible frustration when the commission announced its decision.