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State Politician Says Future Of Preakness
Stakes In Maryland Is "Safe"
Various parties involved with Maryland's thoroughbred racing industry met yesterday and "agreed on one thing: keeping the Preakness Stakes in Maryland," according to Hanah Cho of the Baltimore SUN. Maryland Chief Legislative Officer Joseph Bryce and Labor Secretary Alexander Sanchez hosted the meeting to "try and broker an agreement that would salvage live racing next year and ensure the future of the Preakness." They met with reps from MI Developments and Penn National Gaming, which own the Maryland Jockey Club, as well as "groups representing horsemen and breeders." Bryce said the Preakness is "safe," following a "closed-door, three-hour meeting at the State House." Details are "still being worked out for a deal regarding a 2011 schedule for thoroughbred racing," and Bryce said that "several options were discussed, but he declined to say what they would be." He noted that the "parties are expected to meet again within the next week with a goal of having a viable plan before the Maryland Racing Commission's meeting later this month." Bryce: "The Preakness and the need to sustain Maryland racing, everyone agrees on that." Penn National Senior VP/Corporate Development Steven Snyder called yesterday's meeting "productive." While some have suggested "redirecting some of the state's slot-machine revenue" to the MJC, a spokesperson for Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley said that "eminent domain is not an option the state would consider at this time." When asked whether the state would consider "redirecting slots revenue to help track operators," Bryce said that the state "would not want to make 'wholesale' changes to that pot of money" (Baltimore SUN, 12/7).
In Las Vegas, Cy Ryan reported a "proposal to build an arena on the Las Vegas Strip might be headed for the 2011 Nevada Legislature, but first it will face a legal challenge." Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller's office said that it "has verified more than enough voter signatures to move the initiative petition along." Deputy Secretary of State for elections Matt Griffin yesterday said that "opponents have seven days to file suit." Ryan noted an "effort to stop the initiative was made in district court, but failed," though that "could be appealed to the Nevada Supreme Court." The arena concept is "backed by Caesars Entertainment Corp. but opposed by MGM Resorts International" (LASVEGASSUN.com, 12/6).
Public Funding For New Rays Ballpark Could
Face Hurdles With Anti-Tax Climate In Florida
TOUGH SELL: In Florida, Robert Napper reported the "current anti-tax climate" in the Tampa Bay area may make securing public funding for a new Rays ballpark "a tough sell." A Pinellas County Commission meeting last week "shed some light on the battle the team may face in seeking any public funding for a new stadium in the coming years." Commissioners voted to extend a $0.05 "tourism tax in Pinellas set to sunset in 2015, but the board split on extending the tax indefinitely." Instead, a "portion of the tax will cease in 2021, and many of those pennies would have held possible funding for a baseball stadium." Pinellas Commissioner Norm Roche: "I think any kind of funding for a new stadium will have to be decided on by the voters, in the form of a referendum" (FLORIDAINDEPENDENT.com, 12/6).
RIDING SHOTGUN: In Charlotte, Erik Spanberg reports Charlotte-based ai Design Group is "back on track" with SMI. The architectural firm is "leading the way on a renovation" of Kentucky Speedway estimated at $40M. ai Design Group Principal Wes Jones and the firm first worked for SMI at the company's Texas Motor Speedway track, and since then "has worked on everything from gift shops and grandstands to offices and drag strips" at SMI's "far-flung properties in California, Tennessee and New Hampshire, among others" (CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 12/3 issue).