06/08/2005 12:00AM

Oklahoma licenses near approval


The applications for gaming licenses at Remington Park and Blue Ribbon Downs are under review by the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission and could be approved as early as next week at a commission meeting.

The application process involves background investigations and a review of security plans.

The tracks plan to install electronic gaming devices that play like slot machines. Remington can initially open with 650 machines. An official with Magna Entertainment Corp., which owns Remington, has told commissioners that Remington's target date for opening a casino is Oct. 28, according to Gordon Hare, executive director of the racing commission.

The casino will be located on the second floor of the grandstand as part of a $32 million expansion at the track, located in Oklahoma City.

Blue Ribbon, which can install 250 machines, has informed commissioners that a casino at the track can be operating within five days of receiving a gaming license.

A third track, Will Rogers Downs, submitted its application after Remington and Blue Ribbon.

In other commission business, Tino Rieger beat out 27 other applicants for the position of executive director of the commission. For the past 12 years, Rieger has been the assistant executive director for the Louisiana Racing Commission.

Rieger replaces Hare, who in the last year announced plans to retire after 21 years with the commission. Rieger will assume the position Aug. 1.