Scott Challenges New Mexico License Decision

By Associated Press

Nevada businessman Shawn Scott, an applicant for a license to open a racetrack and casino in Hobbs, New Mexico, has filed a challenge to the state Racing Commission's selection of Ruidoso Downs owner R.D. Hubbard.

An attorney Scott filed notice with the state Gaming Control Board on Monday outlining Hubbard's troubles last year in Indiana.

Those troubles stemmed from allegations that prostitutes were flown in to entertain gamblers playing in a Hubbard-hosted golf tournament at the Belterra Casino Resort in Southern Indiana in the summer of 2001.

Hubbard has not displayed "evidence of suitability" to run either the Ruidoso track or the new Hobbs track, Scott's notice states. "Granting Mr. Hubbard a finding of suitability would be contrary to the goals, law, and public policy of the state of New Mexico."

The Control Board was expected to discuss the Hobbs gaming license today during a meeting in Albuquerque.

The board also is to decide whether to issue a new license to Hubbard for the casino at his Ruidoso track and how to deal with a previous complaint that Hubbard didn't promptly advise New Mexico regulators about the Indiana matter.

Although there are no allegations that Hubbard himself arranged for the women to be brought to the golf tournament, Hubbard agreed to give up his Indiana gaming license. He also paid a $740,000 fine and agreed to sell his stock in Pinnacle Entertainment, which owns the Belterra. Hubbard resigned as chairman of Pinnacle after the prostitution scandal surfaced.

Hubbard's attorney Billy Blackburn said Monday that Hubbard has cleared a background check from the Gaming Control Board, and the board voted to renew Hubbard's Ruidoso license for one year.

"Indiana was resolved. It's settled. It's done with," Blackburn said. "Everybody has moved on--other than disgruntled losers of race tracks in New Mexico."

The new track in Hobbs is expected to generate an estimated $50 million in annual revenue.

In addition to Scott and Hubbard, Santa Fe art dealer Gerald Peters and Ken Newton, former owner of The Downs at Santa Fe, also applied for the license to open a Hobbs track and casino.