Serving the High Plains

Lea County supports Quay for racino

Lea County commissioners unanimously passed a resolution Thursday that favors Tucumcari in its bid to land a horse-racing license from the New Mexico Racing Commission.

Lea County commissioners stated in the resolution the opening of a proposed racetrack in Clovis would hurt the Zia Park Casino Hotel & Racetrack in Hobbs.

“... A new casino in Clovis will simply shift jobs and revenue from Lea County to our neighbors to the north, risk any development in our community and result in an even more saturated casino market in the state’s southeastern region,” the resolution stated.

The county stated if the racing commission wants to add a racing facility in New Mexico, “consideration should be given to locating the facility in a location that has the least impact in existing racetracks and casinos by primarily generating new customers versus shifting them from existing facilities.”

“... Tucumcari has a strong need for economic development and is located on I-40, a short drive from the very large Amarillo market and the location of a gaming facility in this area would have less impact on the racing and gaming in Lea County, and a new casino in Clovis will likely prove detrimental to our economic, diversification and health of the racing industry.”

Last month, the Economic Development Corporation of Lea County also stated its preference for Tucumcari to receive the license over Clovis.

EDCLC President and CEO Steve Vierck said, “After much review, EDC’s position is that an additional racetrack and casino within southeast New Mexico would adversely impact our economy, tax revenues and the racing industry.”

Coronado Partners wishes to build an $80 million horse-racing track and casino on Tucumcari’s east side between Interstate 40 and Route 66 that would employ up to 400 people. Three applicants in Clovis and one in Lordsburg also are bidding for a horse-racing license.

The racing commission plans to interview all license applicants Nov. 28, with an announcement tentatively set for Dec. 6 on who will get the license.