MINNEAPOLIS -- Southwest Casino Corporation announced that on January 19th the Minnesota Racing Commission granted North Metro Harness Initiative, LLC's application to construct and operate a harness racetrack in Columbus Township, Anoka County, MN. Southwest Casino Corporation's wholly owned subsidiary, Southwest Casino and Hotel Corp., is a Managing Member and owns a 50% membership interest in North Metro.
Anoka County is approximately 30 miles north of downtown Minneapolis and 40 miles from the Mall of America. North Metro plans to build the facility on a 165-acre site currently under option. The track would be the second of only two racetracks permitted by law in the seven-county Twin Cities metropolitan area. Minnesota law permits licensed racetracks to operate a card room with up to 50 tables offering "non-banking" games (those in which the players play only against each other instead of against the house), subject to completion of the racetrack's first 50-day live race meet and regulatory approval of a card room plan of operation. Accordingly, North Metro intends to commence card room operations at the earliest practicable date.
Commenting on the granting of the license, Tom Fox, President of Southwest Casino Corporation, said, "We are pleased with the Racing Commission's decision and look forward to developing a quality venue for harness racing in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area. We believe this facility will be a regional attraction that will benefit Minnesota's entire horse industry and overall purse payments to horsemen by increasing public awareness and participation in horse racing."