Vote Will Decide Fate of Proposed Michigan Track

Voters in Romulus, Mich., will decide Dec. 2 whether to allow for gambling establishments, one of which is a multi-breed racetrack proposed by Magna Entertainment Corp.

The Detroit Free Press reported that affirmative votes on two propositions--one for the track and another for a tribal casino--don't ensure they will come to fruition, but "no" votes probably would kill their chances.

MEC has said it wants to build Michigan Downs in Romulus not far from Detroit International Airport and miles south of the site of old Detroit Race Course, which closed in 1998. The Detroit metropolitan area has no live Thoroughbred racing.

MEC and the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians have invested heavily in the referendum campaign, the Free Press reported.

Romulus has about 15,000 registered voters. About 8,000 voted in the last presidential election, and about 4,500 voted in the last mayoral election. Observers believe only a third of voters will show up at the polls Dec. 2, the newspaper reported.

Even if Romulus voters approve both plans, they face obstacles. The casino needs Congressional approval, and Michigan Downs needs a license from the state. Racing Commissioner Robert Geake has said he wouldn't approve a license for MEC in Romulus should voters reject the proposal.