Who wants to buy Quebec and NHL boss?

Aug 16, 2005 3:07 AM

Would you like to buy the province of Quebec?

Well, let me amend that slightly.

Would you like to buy four racetracks, 19 OTB parlors, and a share of revenues from 1,900 video lottery terminals at the tracks of Quebec?

Last Friday, the government of Quebec, and SONACC, the governing body of racing in Quebec, decided to sell the store.

They issued a Request for Proposals to buy the whole kit and caboodle, and if you are interested you have until 5 p.m. EDT to let them know. All you will need to do is request the necessary documents, send them a check for $500 (less than getting into a lot of poker competitions) and tell them you’re interested.

The address, if you are, is RCGT, 140, Grande-Allee East, Suite 200, Quebec, Quebec, GIR 5P7. The 500 bucks, incidentally, is non refundable, so once you’re in you’re in.

Who would you be bidding against?

If you had asked the question six months ago, I might have said Magna Entertainment. They were very much interested in the package then, but cash being what it is these days, they seem to be in a selling rather than a buying mode. This deal could interest them, however, so they are a possible rival.

Another is Remstar, a big outfit that does motion picture production, hotels, and rents refuse containers, among other things. They have expressed interest from the first whispers that the tracks and VLTs might be sold. And I would not be surprised if you might have to go up against Great Canadian Gaming, which recently bought Sandown Park and Fraser Downs in British Columbia, two casinos in Atlantic Canada (which you may remember by their former name, the Maritimes) and is in the final stages of buying Flamboro Downs and Georgian Downs, two tracks with slots in Ontario.

There will be other suitors, so save up if you plan to bid.

The tracks in question are Hippodrome de Montreal, a beautifully located facility in Montreal; and three other harness tracks known as Hippodrome de Quebec, Aylmer and Trois Rivieres.

The four have 1,900 VLTs, and there also are 19 Hippo Clubs, or OTBs, that go with the package. The VLTs are owned by Lotto Quebec, the provincial lottery, but you would get 10% of their proceeds if you buy the package.

If you send your $500 by Sept. 2, you’re in for the next hand, which is the due diligence process where SONACC and the government make sure you can come up with the loot. They’ll send you a formal application, which has to be returned by Oct. 13.

For additional information, you can contact Mr. Jean Chiasson of RCGT at 418-647-3151, or by fax at 416-647-9279, or by e-mail at [email protected]

If you buy the package I would like you to promise you’ll keep harness horses racing at the tracks. That’s little enough to ask for letting you in on this juicy deal.

Bettman needs
head examined

While all of this is going on, the joke that is the National Hockey League continues its bizarre dealings. Double-talking Gary Bettman, its commissioner sounding like Donald Rumsfeld on his wackiest day, welcomed back the king of the goon squads, Todd Bertuzzi of the Vancouver Canucks, reinstating him as "the right result for the game of hockey."

Freely translated, that means that the more violence the better. Bertuzzi, of course, is the guy who punched Steve Moore of Colorado, slammed him to the ice and fell on him, breaking his neck.

Bettman said in his announcement that he was acting "on the basis of what I believe is the right result for the game of hockey and Mr. Bertuzzi, taking into due consideration the impact of those events on Mr. Moore." He thinks Bertuzzi "paid a very significant price for his conduct on March 8, 2004," and he wants him back so he can slam someone else when the goon game resumes after a well-deserved year of inactivity in which it was not missed.

Moore was in Cleveland taking more tests when Bettman announced his asinine decision. He is not the only one who needs tests. Bettman could use some too.