Texas Racing Commission Approves Magna/Lone Star Deal

Magna Entertainment Corp.'s $99 million acquisition of Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie was approved Wednesday by the Texas Racing Commission at a meeting in Austin.

The Magna/Lone Star deal, originally announced in March, was approved by a 7-1 vote.

Colleen McHugh cast the lone negative vote, and expressed concern over Magna's XpressBet Internet wagering operation. Off track wagering, including Internet and phone wagering, is illegal in the state of Texas. Magna officials sent a letter to the racing commission stating it would not accept Internet wagers from Texas residents unless the racing commission gives its approval.

McHugh wanted Magna officials to state the company would not accept Internet wagers from Texas residents until granted approval by the Texas state legislature.

Through XpressBet, Magna had accepted wagers from Texas residents from January through May, until Magna informed racing commissioners it would bring a halt to the operation.

"We will not violate Texas law," Ed Hannah, Magna general counsel, said. "We shut down in March. We are not here to violate Texas law or disobey the Texas racing commission."

Jim McAlpine, president of Magna, said Lone Star president and general manager Corey Johnsen had agreed to stay in his current position.