View Full Version : Gaming at race tracks

02-19-2005, 12:56 AM
Here's an update on the implementation of SQ 712. Looks likegaming at Remington Park should begin sometime later this summer. I'll be interested to see how Remington Park looks once gaming is included in the mix.

"Gaming rules review gets extension

By Michael McNutt
Capitol Bureau

Horse track operators, electronic gambling machine manufacturers and vendors, horse groups and residents were given more time Thursday to look over proposed racetrack gaming rules.

The Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission, concerned because the 151 pages of rules were made available just this week, voted to receive comments on the proposals until 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Despite the delay, casino gaming operations at Blue Ribbon Downs in Sallisaw and Will Rogers Downs in Claremore could be under way in May if no problems are found with the rules, said Gordon Hare, the commission's executive director.

Remington Park in Oklahoma City hopes to have casino games available in July or August, a spokesman said.

Commissioners should be prepared to vote on the rules at their next scheduled meeting March 17, Hare said. Depending on how long it takes staff to respond to comments, commissioners could decide to call a special meeting sooner to act on the rules, he said.

"If we make some critical mistake in these rules, now is the time to avoid that," Hare said. "Now's the time to get it right."

Commissioners also will consider whether to approve another eight pages of rules that would allow gaming vendors to use computers to download game programming systems. Hare said the procedure is not used at other tracks, but technology is near at hand to implement it.

The rules -- about 90 pages of technical standards covering gaming machines and security, and about 60 pages of other regulations -- have undergone several revisions.

Hare said a commission task force last year mostly used gaming rules from New Mexico, Iowa, Louisiana, South Dakota and other states.

"We have taken from those rules that are working in jurisdictions their useful regulatory rules and imposed similar requirements in this draft," Hare said.

After approval by the commission, the rules will go to Gov. Brad Henry for final approval. Once the rules are approved, track officials can apply for gaming licenses.

Remington Park can have up to 650 gaming machines and can expand to 700 machines at the end of three years and to 750 machines at the end of five years. The other two tracks each can have up to 250 machines.

Hare said he expects Blue Ribbon Downs and Will Rogers Downs will be able to get their licenses approved quicker partially because their owners -- the Choctaw and Cherokee nations respectively-- have casino-style gaming operations at other sites.

Hare said he hopes legislators in March will appropriate a $109,000 supplemental appropriation to the commission for this fiscal year. The money would be used to hire five commission gaming agents to regulate the games. The commission hopes to hire three more agents in the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, he said.

Brian Budden, a spokesman for Toronto, Ontario-based Magna Entertainment Corp., which owns Remington Park, said work on the track to accommodate the gaming machines will begin shortly after the rules are approved.

Magna plans to make some comments on the rules, he said.

"There's always a trade-off. You have to make sure they work for the state and the industry, and we're still working to get there," he said in a telephone interview.

Will Rogers Downs plans to open with 250 gaming machines in May, Cherokee Nation spokesman Mike Miller said.

"Extensive work" is under way at the track, he said.

Janie Dillard, executive director of the Choctaw Nation's gaming operations, said improvements are being made to the track. It hopes to open with about 125 machines and plans to hire 30 to 40 employees for the gaming operations, she said.

"We've just got to be patient," she said. "By May, we should be able to start our machine gaming."

In other action
Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission members issued a conditional license to Will Rogers Downs in Claremore to hold 12 days of horse races between Nov. 5 and Dec. 11.

Blue Ribbon Downs in Sallisaw announced its first mixed breed race meeting is scheduled to start Saturday.

Remington Park in Oklahoma City announced its quarter horse, Appaloosa and paintrace meeting is scheduled to start with trial races March 19, with racing to begin April 1.

02-19-2005, 06:39 AM
Yeah, we'll have gaming at Remington Park... but Casino gaming without a racetrack is still illegal!

How dumb is that?

02-19-2005, 12:34 PM
I bet if someone like Harrah's tried hard enough, they could find a techincality. If not, I think full blown casino gaming is on the horizon.

02-19-2005, 07:57 PM
If a famous casino like Harrah's or Horseshoe wanted to locate in OKC, I wonder if the state would change the laws pertaining to casino gambling. Seems to me like they wouldn't want to turn off a big name casino from coming to OKC if they wanted to. That would be kind of like telling Hard Rock they can't come to OKC.

02-21-2005, 02:11 PM
It was announced today that the race track casinos should be operational by July. The two small tracks get them first with 250 slot machines. Remington will be on line by the end of the year with 750.