02/26/2004 12:00AM

Oklahoma house passes slots


The Oklahoma House of Representatives passed a bill in a 52-47 vote on Thursday that will allow Remington Park and other struggling racetracks in the state to install slot machine-type games within the year.

The bill will now be sent to Gov. Brad Henry, who lobbied hard for the bill's passage. The bill was designed to raise money for horsemen, racetracks, and the state by giving tracks the right to operate machines that are already in use in the state's 80 tribal casinos.

Corey Johnsen, a vice president for Magna Entertainment Corp., which owns Remington, said that purses next year at the track will average $200,000 a day because of 650 machines. "That will make us competitive with any track in the five-state region," Johnsen said, including Texas and Louisiana.

Under the bill, horsemen will receive 30 to 20 percent of the net win from the machines, on a sliding scale that decreases as the net win rises. The state's education fund will get 10 to 30 percent of the win, on a sliding scale that increases with the net win. Racetrack owners will retain the remainder, either 50 to 60 percent.

The machines - based on bingo or "games of skill" - will also be allowed at Will Rogers Downs and Blue Ribbons Downs.