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Governor says Shawnee casino would devastate horse industry

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June 7, 2008

OKLAHOMA CITY - Friday Governor Brad Henry wrote a letter to U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne saying the Shawnee Tribe's plan to build a casino in Oklahoma City will harm state revenues and should be rejected.  Henry's letter was submitted within the ending days of the federal comment period on the Shawnee Tribe's proposal.

The governor wrote: "(The casino) will likely lead to a significant decline in state revenues through the decline and probable demise of Remington Park Racino. The Shawnee Tribe's proposal would undoubtedly have a deleterious effect on Remington Park's business, subsequently resulting in a significant loss of state revenue and critical funding for education."

The Shawnee Tribe's hope to build a casino and 18-story hotel at Interstate 35 and Britton Road. The site for the $400 million project is 1.7 miles from Remington Park's racetrack and casino.

The governor's letter continued "Clearly, a gaming facility of the size and location proposed by the Shawnee Tribe will threaten the viability of Oklahoma's venerable horse industry and more than 50,000 jobs connected to it. Not only would this proposal by the Shawnee Tribe prove devastating for Remington Park and the horse industry, but there is every reason to believe it would secure an unfair advantage over the dozens of other tribal casinos scattered through central Oklahoma."

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