The timing may be just right. At least that is the opinion of Eddie Callahan, general manager of Rockingham Park, which is under option to the partnership. Callahan points out that the state’s expected budget shortfall this year will be between $75 million and $90 million. That gives supporters reasons for optimism.
Slots at the horse track would help the Granite State maintain its policy of no sales tax and no state income tax, a unique position among the country’ s 50 states.
The option to buy the Salem track from owners Rockingham Venture originated with the defunct Showboat Inc. It was transferred to Harrah’s Entertainment and picked up by the Millenium partners.
Wortman has promised state officials that his firm is prepared to invest $450 million in the project that not only would result in the installation of between 2,500 and 3,000 slot machines but also would revive the track’s glory days by returning thoroughbred racing which was discontinued several years ago.
The partners are experienced in running a racino since they own The Meadows facility in Pennsylvania. That track, as well as the two Cannery hotel/casinos in Las Vegas, is being sold to the Australian company, Crown Casinos, with the closing expected in early 2009.