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SBD/Issue 71/Facilities & Venues
Cordish Moving Ahead With Maryland Casinos Sans Laurel Park
Published December 23, 2009
|David Cordish "Not Worried At All" About
Opposition To Proposed Casino Development
DEATHBLOW TO LAUREL? In DC, Andrew Beyer notes the zoning approval for the slots facility "signified that Laurel Park won't get slots," and its "consequences seem clear." Beyer: "Laurel will not survive as a venue for live horse racing. Year-round racing -- or anything close to it -- will be finished in the state. The sport will be reduced to a relatively short season at Pimlico, which will survive only because of the profitability of the Preakness." Laurel "desperately needed slots because its horse racing business is no longer viable." Laurel's facilities have "deteriorated badly, giving fans little reason to go to the track when they can watch and bet races from home." Beyer writes the "vision of Maryland racing with a short, high-quality meeting at Pimlico, a healthy Preakness and a decent simulcast facility in Laurel is as much as any realist can hope for" (WASHINGTON POST, 12/23).
MORE HELPFUL THAN HURTFUL: A Baltimore SUN editorial states though the horse racing industry has "convinced itself otherwise, it stands to be a major beneficiary" of the slots facility. The industry was "singled out among all other industries and causes in the state to receive a share of the state's slot machine gambling revenue for purse enhancements, horse-breeding funds and capital improvements for the tracks." The industry's share is 9.5% of the "gross proceeds from slots -- that's more than local governments are getting -- up to" $140M a year. With "what could be one of the most lucrative slots locations in the nation, Arundel Mills stands to give the industry" nearly $50M a year. The "real threat to horse racing" and Anne Arundel County "at this point is the effort by neighbors of the mall to petition the council's zoning vote to a referendum." The editorial: "Anyone who's serious about helping horse racing ... has got to look at the odds and conclude that opposing the petition is the best bet" (Baltimore SUN, 12/23).