Tale of two casinos?

June 19, 2013

Two articles concerning The Meadows Racetrack & Casino – both of them in Wednesday’s edition – caused us to scratch our head in wonder.

The front-page article reported on “Corridors of Opportunity,” a meeting of Washington County business leaders, at which Bill Paulos, co-founder of Cannery Casino Resorts, was the featured speaker. Paulos said his company has poured more than $600 million into The Meadows and is not finished. Among additions planned is a 150-room hotel to be connected to the 350,000-square-foot casino, which is the largest on the East Coast.

But another article in the local section painted a different picture of The Meadows. Canon-McMillan School Board, voicing its misgivings, voted to approve a settlement with the casino over its tax assessment appeal. No details of the deal were revealed, but it is known that in 2009, The Meadows’ previous owner sought a reduction in assessment from $19.9 million to $10 million.

It may seem illogical that as The Meadows has grown to the largest casino in the East, its market value has diminished, but that’s apparently the case that’s being argued here. And because this is Washington County, where the last property assessment was initiated during the Jimmy Carter administration, the taxing bodies have not much defense. There were no casinos here in 1981, when the last assessment took effect. This is just another example of why countywide property reassessment is necessary.



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