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Friday, November 11, 2005

Magna Trials and Tribulations

- Magna’s decision to sell the Meadows harness track in Pennsylvania despite the impending arrival of slots there is a result of their burgeoning debt load. Magna took on an additional $56 million in debt from its parent company in the third quarter. CEO Thomas Hodgson explained that it would cost them another $250 million just to construct a racino at the aging harness track. “...the track at The Meadows dates back to the 1970s and when we looked at the site....we really concluded in the context of opening a racino it had to be a complete teardown.." [Toronto Globe and Mail]

There’s also the matter of the expensive reconstruction of Gulfstream, and the company confirmed what we all knew all along – the track will not be fully ready for the Jan 4 opening. "We'll phase in the rest of the building as we go along," said [track president Scott] Savin. "Work will continue seven days a week throughout the meet, even while racing is being conducted." [Daily Racing Form] Don't buy the excuse blaming the delay on Hurricane Wilma; this delay sounds much longer than the two weeks lost due to the storm.

But another lavish-sounding Magna project is set for November 21, the day that its racino at Remington Park in Oklahoma City is scheduled to open.

The Remington casino, if a look at the ongoing project is any indication, is going to be sumptuous, with elegant stonework and woodwork. Eight feet above the casino floor, on a giant round television screen, races will be shown. And the casino will open onto the "Lookout," an area overlooking the finish line. [Dallas-Ft. Worth Star Telegram]
Give credit to Magna here for at least making an attempt to make the racing part of the casino experience, rather than the total disconnect I’ve seen at the Saratoga harness track.

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

Here in Md.,where slots can't even come to a vote and Pimlico is older than Kelseys' nuts,we can only hope a Vegas casino can buy the license for future considerations.
The horsemen have a lock on permiting simulcasting,so Magna will have to come up w/substantially more racing days.
Seems right now for Magna smaller is better and the deal they have at hollywood is ideal,now Md. only needs a corp. with both deep pockets and lots of patience.