Oklahoma Tracks Get Green Light for Gaming

The Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission officially gave the go-ahead for gaming Aug. 11 at two of the racetracks in the state, Remington Park in Oklahoma City and Blue Ribbon Downs in Sallisaw.

Meanwhile, Will Rogers Downs in Claremore will have to wait. The commission again delayed action on the track's bid because of legal concerns. The Cherokee Nation, which owns Will Rogers Downs, has yet to waive sovereignty immunity rights.

The action comes as good news for the two tracks that have been making plans for months. In July, Remington, owned by Magna Entertainment Corp., unveiled its plans for a $32-million project to add video gaming to its grandstand. Blue Ribbon Downs already has spent nearly $2 million to convert its off-track betting facility into an area for gaming.

Remington will have 650 machines in its gaming facility, while Blue Ribbon Downs, which is owned by the Choctaw Nation, will have 250.

Remington likely will open its facility in late fall, and Blue Ribbon Downs has indicated it would open its gaming area as soon as the commission approves laboratory certification of the machines and security operations for the new areas.

Blue Ribbon officials said they hope to offer gaming sometime in September.