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Excitement In Alberta

Published: December 6, 2013 3:28 pm ET

Last Comment: December 6, 2013 7:16 pm ET | 2 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

The collective hard work and resiliency of Alberta’s horse racing industry paid off earlier this week when officials from Century Casinos Inc. and the United Horsemen of Alberta officially announced their agreement for the long-awaited racino at CrossIron Mills in Balzac.

Both parties announced the agreement Wednesday, December 4 in Calgary.

There has not been live horse racing in Calgary since Stampede Park put on its last program in 2008. The global financial crisis which began in ’08 was just one of many hurdles the Alberta industry has had to face in order to make the racino in Balzac – to be named ‘Century Downs Racetrack and Casino’ – become a reality.

Construction on the racino is expected to start in the spring (weather permitting), and as a report by Tara Weber of CBC News explains, optimism and relief is abundant in the area.

“It’s been a humungous challenge,” said Max Gibb, vice chair of UHA. “Two or three times we were in place to go ahead.”

Gibb told the CBC that the racino will be the ‘Mecca’ of western Canadian harness racing. The project will also be the largest gambling, horse-racing and entertainment venue in the Canadian west.

The CBC report states that in its final years of racing, Stampede Park contributed more than $399-million in revenue to the province.

“I can tell you that the Board of Directors of Horse Racing Alberta – criticized at times for it – have never lost faith (in the racino project),” HRA Chair Shirley McClellan said during the press conference.

McClellan added that the racino will “give an industry that is as old as the province – and has such a historic place in this province – it’ll help them regain their place in the growth of this province.”

“The project has changed, the players have changed, but the dream is alive,” Investor Sandra Rexilus told CBC.

(With files from CBC News)

December 6, 2013 - 7:16 pmI've tried to figure out how

Danny Dix SAID...

I've tried to figure out how a 5 and a half furlong track can work for one mile races, they're going to be in that first turn really quick.

December 6, 2013 - 5:19 pmAll fine and good. Is there

All fine and good. Is there harness racing and do the horsemen have a deal to get a percentage of the slot money?

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