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PROVINCE TO FINALIZE PLAN TO SAVE THE NORDIQUES

     The Quebec government will put together, over the next few
days, a formal written offer to "bail out the financially
strapped" Nordiques, according to today's GLOBE & MAIL.  There
were also signs yesterday that the province is "reluctantly
bending to pressure" to open a casino in Quebec City to help
finance the team and a new arena.   Premier Jacques Parizeau, who
has previously rejected the idea of a casino:  "Will the money
come from a casino, will it come from a lottery, will it come
from taxes, will it come from the sales tax?  That is not the
Nordiques' problem."  Parizeau said the government will make the
final decision.  The province's formal offer to help the team
will "likely include" a demand that the government become a
partial owner of the team.  Parizeau's chief of staff said
yesterday the government has also "informally proposed financing
a smaller part of the club's annual deficit for the next two
years," but included other conditions -- a caps on player
salaries, as well as "solid guarantees" that the team can sell
100 luxury boxes at an annual cost of C$100,000/each.  Whichever
is accepted, "it seems clear" that Nordiques Owner Marcel Aubut
will have a "price to pay" (Rheal Seguin, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL,
5/5).
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