Full House Proposes Clovis Racino Resort
Full House Resorts, once of several bidders for the sixth and last available racetrack license in New Mexico has unveiled its proposal for 520 acres east of Clovis, which it has dubbed “La Posada del Llano,” and which it claims will “reinvent the horseracing industry.”
“La Posada” translates into “The Inn,” and the area around Clovis is known as “Llano Estacado,” or “short-grass plains.”
Full House joins a total of 11 groups that are seeking the sixth license. The deadline for submissions was last week. Full House met that deadline. The commission was expected to announce a winner to the bidding process August 23.
Full House has optioned the land for a destination resort complete with racetrack, casino, hotel, 18-hole golf course and water park. It would also have an RV park and miles of nature trails. Full House presented its proposal to the New Mexico Racing Commission. Full House is estimating the project will cost about $200 million.
Nevada-based Full House operates five casinos or hospitality facilities in four U.S. states. Full House’s President and CEO Daniel R. Lee commented, “We believe that eastern New Mexico has tremendous potential to attract visitors from throughout the area, including from nearby Amarillo, Lubbock, and other parts of western Texas.” Clovis is about 100 miles from both Amarillo and Lubbock, Texas.
Lee added, “We are proposing to build an entire regional destination resort, entailing much more than just a racetrack and casino. Such a development will produce more jobs, more development, greater tax revenues, and larger horseracing purses, while also becoming a major attraction and amenity for the region.”
The project would feature a “Moving Grandstand,” like a streetcar or tram, that would have hundreds of seats and enable spectators to follow the horses at roughly the same speed, circling the track.
Lee said “In a typical race, spectators in the grandstand only see two brief moments of a race – its start and the closing seconds at the finish line. Our Moving Grandstand changes that, allowing spectators to race side-by-side with the horses for every dramatic second of the race.” He predicted this would create a “new generation of fans.”
Lee, who is the former chief executive officer of Pinnacle Entertainment, said the project would “help transform Clovis into a year-round tourist destination.” It would be a project developed from the ground up. Clovis has a population of nearly 38,000.
During a conference call after the announcement, Lee told callers, “There are a total of 11 proposals. We are a tiny company and we are the big company in this.” Lee said. “When you’re 1 of 11 proposals, you never going to say that you have a 50-50 chance. But I think our odds are better than a 1 in 11 chance, and so we are chasing that deal pretty aggressively.”
Lee claimed the project, if approved “would be the largest private investment in New Mexico in years.”
Full House’s stock rose 3.87 percent the day after it released details of its proposal.
Full House’s competitors for the license include:
• A joint venture: L&M Entertainment, including the Laguna Development Corp. and Miller Companies. They proposal a horserace track and casino with up to 600 slots.
• The Fulton family, owners of Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino. They propose to invest up to $100 million.
• Shaun Hubbard, former manager of Ruidoso Downs Race Track & Casino. He is the principal of an LLC called Clovis Racetrack and Casino.
• Coronado Partners LLC, an investment group that proposes a $75 million racino, including 750 slots. Managing partner is Thomas Krumland, who owns five car dealerships.
New Mexico has racinos in Farmington, Albuquerque, Hobbs, Ruidoso Downs and Sunland Park.