Racing license up for discussion

By Thomas Garcia
CMI staff writer
The race isn’t quite on, yet, but the New Mexico Racing Commission plans to discuss Thursday how they should proceed concerning the state’s sixth and final racing license.
The latest development could set off a rush of gambling interests across eastern New Mexico, where potential investors have been racing behind the scenes to put together proposals for the state’s only remaining license.
The racing license will be a discussion item only and the commission will be taking no action on it, commission Director Vince Mares said.
Mares said Robert Goughty III, the commission’s chairman, is going to address the public during open session about what direction the commission wants to take concerning the license. He said the commission wants to take time to research the issue further.
“We still feel it is a good thing and positive step forward to have the sixth license listed on the racing commission’s agenda,” said Warren Frost, who represents the Quay County Gaming Authority, the only entity that has filed a petition to get the license.
Two unnamed private entities have recently searched for land near Clovis in hopes of obtaining the sixth racino license, according to real estate agent Paul Stout and City Manager Joe Thomas. Interests in Hobbs, Lordsburg and Raton have also indicated they plan to apply for the license.
Mares said the commission wants to hold public meetings to get input from  horse breeders, horsemen and the public concerning the license. He said while many have shown interest in issuing a sixth license, there has also been some opposition to it.
“The commission wants to be transparent when it comes to making the decision concerning the sixth license,” Mares said.
Raton was awarded the license in 2009, but was unable to meet commission deadlines. A subsquent series of appeals were denied.