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Attendance Down at Oklahoma Tracks

28 February 2003

OKLAHOMA – As reported by the Oklahoman: "Attendance at Remington Park and Blue Ribbon Downs continued to decline last year, a state auditor's report shows.

"The report, released Thursday, prompted Gov. Brad Henry to say it's time to help the industry.

"Henry said the racetracks need to be on `a level playing field' with American Indian tribes that compete with gaming. He said the one thing horse racing officials want is the ability to offer additional types of gaming.

"…According to the operations report by state Auditor and Inspector Jeff McMahan, attendance at Remington Park in Oklahoma City declined 7 percent from 141,636 to 131,674. The average daily handle declined by $69,178, or 22 percent, from $310,889 to $241,711.

"Attendance at Blue Ribbon Downs in Sallisaw declined 7 percent, from 76,758 in 2001 to 71,740 in 2002. The average daily handle, $64,319 in 2002, declined by $405 from 2001.

"…Gordon Hare, executive director of the Horse Racing Commission, said some factors contributing to the decline are out of the commission's control.

"…Hare said tracks face competition from tribal gaming and from racetracks in surrounding states that have additional gaming attractions…"

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