The state Racing and Gaming Commission has delayed part of the slot machineexpansion planned for the Prairie Meadows Race Track and Casino. Thedecision came following vigorous opposition from the owner of Osceola’s newriverboat casino. Osceola license holder William Grace said the PrairieMeadows request to add 336 new slot machines would hurt the launch of hisboat.The Osceola boat is expected to open for business December 15th. The openinghad originally been set for April 15th, but Grace says problems with hishealth and weather delays pushed that back.A consultant hired by Grace estimates the additional slot machines atPrairie Meadows would cut the Osceola boat’s revenues by 11-percent.Prairie Meadows spokesman Tom Flynn says the horse track needs the newmachines and their revenue to upgrade the facility.Flynn said the track cannot afford to continue operating as it has withoutthe new machines.Prairie Meadows has its own consultant’s study. It showed that there areenough gamblers in the market to support both operations. Flynn says thatwas proven when the Meskwaki Indian casino recently doubled the number ofslots offered near Tama.The commission agreed to a compromise which allows Prairie Meadows to install100 new slot machines immediately. The track can also begin expansion onthe casino and make building improvements. Prairie Meadows must wait toinstall the additional 236 slot machines until October of 2000. Thecommissioners said this would give the Osceola casino boat time to getestablished.
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