SEABROOK — After extensive renovations, town officials celebrated a soft opening of The Greyhound Casino and Tavern, located at the old greyhound park at 319 New Zealand Road.
Eureka Casino Resort, based in Mesquite, Nevada, bought the greyhound track, a 75-acre property and 90,000-square-foot facility in February and announced the opening of an updated restaurant in addition to renovations to the gaming area.
The facility, which opened in 1973, hosted live greyhound racing until it was outlawed in 2008. Today, the park includes a poker room along with simulcast and off-track betting, which Eureka plans to continue.
Eureka began making immediate improvements to the facility, which includes new 75-inch flat screens, tables and chairs.
The venue showcases a granite bar with high-top tables and a pub-style menu, according to Eureka. In addition, there are six new poker tables and 11 table games featuring blackjack, Mississippi stud and three-card poker. Two roulette tables were also added, town officials said.
The second phase of construction is expected to be completed in September and will include repurposing the track’s grandstand.
The venue will remain open throughout the remodeling, the company said. Eureka plans to transform the facility into “the region’s premier gaming, entertainment and food and beverage destination,” according to a press release.
Town officials, who were invited to the soft opening, are eager for the benefits Seabrook will gain from the upgrades. Selectwoman Theresa Kyle noted that charitable gaming will offer opportunities locally.
“It will be opening up for gambling and they have a nice restaurant,” Kyle said. “It appears they’re going to be involved in charitable things in our town, so it just is good. It’s good to see a facility like that being rehabbed. I really think it’s going to be a nice place for people to go to whether you gamble or not.”
Selectwoman Ella Brown agreed, adding that what has been remolded so far is “beautiful.”
Kyle said if New Hampshire ever approves casino gambling, “This is going to be a very big asset economically to the town of Seabrook. Hopefully, that will happen.”
Selectman Aboul Khan said the venue provides funding for the town’s scholarship fund. The town created the fund several years ago, he said.
In addition, Khan noted, social organizations such as the Lions Club receive assistance through charitable gaming.
“We can still go on with those programs,” Khan said. “It will be good for all the Seabrook residents and continue to be a good thing.”
Eureka is one of two employee-owned casino companies in the country, according to the press release. The company said Chairman Greg Lee and Chief Operating Officer Andre Carrier have deep ties to New Hampshire.
Lee is a graduate of St. Paul’s School in Concord and Carrier’s family lives in the Mount Washington Valley, Eureka officials said.
Staff writer Amanda Getchell covers Newburyport and Seabrook. Follow her on Twitter @ajgetch.