Without explaining their actions, the New Mexico Racing Commission has rejected the application of Las Vegan Shawn Scott to operate a new racetrack in Hobbs, N.M.
Scott’s lawyer, former New Mexico Gov. Toney Anaya, said he was not surprised at the decision since he had knowledge that one of the commissioners was holding out for another applicant, R. D. Hubbard, ousted chairman and president of Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. (PNK).
Scott and Hubbard were two of the three applicants for the Hobbs license. The third application is a from a local group formerly associated with the Downs at Santa Fe.
Hubbard, who with his partner, Bruce Rimbo, currently operate Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico.
However, during the past several months, Hubbard was implicated by Indiana authorities in arrangements to import party girls to entertain high-rollers at Pinnacle’s Belterra riverboat. Indiana regulators forced Hubbard to dispose of his stock in the company; to pay a fine of $760,000 and to give up his state gaming license.
New Mexico racing regulators had said previously they were concerned about Scott’s actions in Louisiana where he had purchased Delta Downs in Vinton, La., for $10 million with the understanding that he would add to the payment if certain conditions were met. He failed to make additional payments even though he sold the racetrack to Boyd Gaming Inc. (BYD) for $130.5 million. Scott claimed the original owners never completed the conditions requiring the additional payments.
By law, the racing commissioners have 60 days to publicly release a "finding-of-fact" report explaining their reasons for denying Scott application.
A hearing date on Hubbard’s application has been set for Nov. 19.