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Bangor awaits Maine vote on racinos

Sep 23, 2003 4:46 AM

Las Vegas gaming entrepreneur Shawn Scott, who has been credited with selling a $10 million racetrack for $130 million, may be on the verge of another score. He will know when the results of a slots referendum are reported on Nov. 4.

The action, this time, takes place in Bangor, Maine, where Scott’s company, Capital Seven LLC, owns a 49% interest in Bangor Historic Track, with an option to acquire the remaining 51%. The property is a city-owned harness track that Scott hopes to convert into a $30 million gaming and entertainment complex. That will require a positive vote of the electorate.

Upgrading racing at the historic track may be a mirror image to what Scott was able to accomplish at Delta Downs in Louisiana. Scott bought the rundown track for $10 million and worked feverishly to get the parish (county) voters to approve the installation of slot machines. His work was rewarded with a favorable vote.

Shortly afterward, Scott sold the track to Boyd Gaming Corp. (BYD) for $130.5 million, a deal that has benefited both parties since the racino has been an instant success.

The Maine Harness Racing Commission has agreed to postpone a licensing hearing for Scott until Nov. 10 at which time everyone will know whether Mainers will approve race track slots.

Meanwhile, Scott’s associates are busily engaged in converting another trotting track, Vernon Downs in upstate New York, into a racino. The state legislature approved racetrack slots nearly two years ago but because of a troublesome tax structure no New York tracks took advantage of the slots opportunity. That changed when the legislature rewrote the law to make it less restrictive.

Word is that Scott’s track will probably be the first New York facility to open under the new racino law.