Officials uncertain on date of ruling for racino

Speculation runs from any day now to sometime after the first of the year on the timing of a state appeals court ruling that could open the door for a racino in Quay County.

"We are on the court's schedule," said Vince Mares, director of the New Mexico Racing Commission.

Mares said while a struggle between the racing commission and La Mesa investment group is being reviewed by the court of appeals, they would not accept any applications nor discuss the awarding of license with any entity. He said the commission has no choice but to await the decision from the court of appeals.

"We are on a list of cases waiting to be heard," Mares said. "There is little chance our case will be ruled on before the end of the year."

That's not the way the Quay County Gaming Authority sees it. Executive Director Warren Frost said there could be a decision made at the first of the year or tomorrow. There are too many variables to try and forecast that decision, said Frost.

Frost said the appeal was assigned to a three-judge panel on Oct. 3, which means all filing regarding the case is completed and all that remains is the judges ruling.

Frost said the time it takes for the decision depends upon judges schedules, caseload and who writes the opinion.

"I'm of the opinion that a decision will come this month," Frost said.

In September, the court of appeals denied a motion filed by the racing commission to expedite the appeal.

Mares said the commission wants this issue to be resolved so it can move forward with awarding the license,.

Since the denial, there has been reports of the second investment group from Tucumcari that plans to apply for the license should the application process be opened again.

Frost said there is not much information about the second investment group, and it could be little more than a rumor.

Frost said even though it is another investment group, any attempts to bring the economic boost of a racetrack and casino to Quay County is a good thing. He said another group applying locally demonstrates that many agree Tucumcari is the right place for the casino and racetrack.

Frost said, however, the second group won't have the governmental support of the communities of Quay County, which have already agreed to a contract to only support Don Chalmer's application for the license.

Frost said the communities of Quay County are contractually obligated to support Chalmer's application, in return for 5 percent of the net profits. He said Tucumcari will receive 2 percent while, Logan San Jon and Quay County will receive 1 percent each.

La Mesa was awarded the state's final gaming and racing licenses in June 2009. The New Mexico Gaming Control Board nullified those licenses the following year for failing to perform.

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