07/29/2002 11:00PM

Hubbard fined over casino junket

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NEW YORK - R.D. Hubbard, the former chairman of Hollywood Park, was fined $740,000 and ordered to forfeit his gaming license by the Indiana Gaming Commission on Monday for violations involving another Hubbard company, Pinnacle Entertainment.

The violations stemmed from a June 2001 golf outing sponsored by Pinnacle's Belterra Casino. The commission alleged that Pinnacle hired eight to 10 prostitutes as entertainment for participants in the high-rolling golf junket and flew the prostitutes to Indiana on a company plane.

Hubbard, who resigned as chairman of Pinnacle when the investigation came to light, is being forced to forfeit his gaming license in the state, pay the commission $10,000 for investigative costs, sell all of this stock in Pinnacle, and agree never to apply for a license in Indiana again.

As the parent company of the casino, Pinnacle accepted a fine of $2.26 million for the incident - the largest fine ever levied by the commission - and agreed to a suspension of its license for 2 1/2 days in October.

Hubbard was once one of the most powerful figures in racing. He was a board member of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, and at one time owned interests in Ruidoso Downs, the Woodlands, and Turf Paradise. Several years ago, after selling Hollywood Park to Churchill Downs, he decided to focus on his casino interests. He remains chairman of Ruidoso Downs, a New Mexico racetrack that also operates a casino.

Hubbard is currently applying for an additional racing and gaming license in New Mexico for a new racetrack and casino, Zia Park, in Hobbs.

Julian Luna, the New Mexico Racing Commission executive director, said that the commission has set a meeting for Aug. 27 to decide on the Zia Park license. Luna declined to comment on whether the Indiana settlement would affect the decision, but he said Hubbard would not have to give up his license at Ruidoso.