By Gabriel Monte, Freedom New Mexico
Area residents said while having a racetrack and casino in Tucumcari would draw more people and money to this part of the state, some say the risks could outweigh the benefits.
During Thursday’s hearing at the Tucumcari Convention Center, proponents of the Coronado Park Race Track and Casino, said the proposed $60 million a year gambling operation will provide the area with an economic shot in the arm that could lead to more businesses and jobs.
Clovis Mayor Gayla Brumfield said Thursday the benefits from the Coronado Park Race Track and Casino would spread over to Clovis. She told racing commissioners people attracted by the racetrack and casino could come to Clovis to shop.
“It’s an (economic) boom for the eastern side of the state,” she said.
Brumfield spoke on behalf of the Clovis city commission in support of the proposal.
“I think the whole eastern side of the state relies on each other,” she said.
Chris Garcia, of Portales, said he goes to the racetrack and casino in Ruidoso one to two times a year. He said he probably would go to a racetrack and casino in Tucumcari.
“It would be great for this side of the state to have something like that,” he said.
On the other hand, Garcia said while the proposal would create jobs it could lead to more people losing money from gambling.
“There’s a pretty good chance that it would do a little bit of damage to the community,” he said.
Alvaro Rosales, who moved to Clovis from Massachusetts about a month ago, said he welcomes the idea of a racetrack in this side of the state. He said it would add to the avenues for entertainment.
“I would like that, there would be more things to do around here,” he said. “I would go to many (races).”
Jack Gillian, of Farwell, said he doesn’t think a casino and racetrack would be beneficial to the area.
“I believe its the wrong thing, it’s gambling and it’s going to hurt people,” he said.
Quay County officials are awaiting the Racing Commission’s decision on the location of a sixth race track in New Mexico, which could come in 30 to 60 days.
The State Legislature limited the number of racetracks in New Mexico to six.
Quay County officials are proposing to build a racetrack and casino operation in Tucumcari. Raton and Santa Fe have also applied for a horse racing license.
Five other cities — Albuquerque, Ruidoso, Hobbs, Farmington and Sunland — have racetrack and casino operations.