Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma's First Racetrack Casino May Open This Month

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma's First Racetrack Casino May Open This Month

Article excerpt

Oklahoma may be less than two weeks away from having its first racetrack casino operation, Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission Executive Director Gordon Hare said Thursday.

The racing commission's regular meeting Thursday should chart the course of on-track electronic gaming. If a decision is not made at the June monthly meeting, there is a good chance tracks will be given the go-ahead during the July 21 meeting.

Blue Ribbon Downs in Sallisaw is the prohibitive favorite to become the first to offer slots. There is a good chance Blue Ribbon Downs and Remington Park will be granted racetrack gaming licenses during the meeting, Hare said.

BRD said it would be offering gaming within five days of receipt of a gaming license, Hare said. Of the three tracks, only Blue Ribbon is talking of immediately opening (a gaming area). Both Remington Park and Blue Ribbon made presentations for gaming licenses at the May meeting, and Will Rogers Downs (in Claremore) is scheduled to have its presentation at the next meeting.

Blue Ribbon officials told the commission of its plans to immediately begin casino wagering, and Remington Park, Hare said, indicated it will wait until the fall.

A lawyer from Magna Entertainment Corp. (which owns Remington) said the track is planning a grand opening for Oct. 28, said Hare. Remington said it wanted to do it right and decided against a temporary facility. He said they said they could have opened in August but were afraid they might have patrons become disenchanted with a temporary site and not come back. He said they have one chance to make a good first impression.

Remington officials said the track has begun a $32 million construction project to add a casino to the existing grandstand and to make other improvements.

The licensing will be granted if a report from Mel Webb, the commission's law enforcement director, is favorable. …

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