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March 15, 2011

Horse racing industry loses millions annually

Pimlico and Laurel race tracks lost more than $25 million in 2008-2009, newly released financial statements show. The revelation comes as Maryland lawmakers look for ways to prop up the flagging but storied horse racing industry.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller said in an interview this morning that the state "should not be subsidizing racing."

"It should be able to stand on its own, or go by the wayside," the Southern Maryland Democrat said. Miller said discord among the industry players is to blame for some of the financial woes. "A lot of it, owners have brought on themselves because they can't agree to a proper and equitable solution."

The Sun's Hanah Cho writes that "the reports paint an even more dire picture than Jockey Club officials had described." She notes that the Jockey Club had previously asserted that Pimlico -- home of the Triple Crown's Preakness -- has been turning a profit. Financial disclosures for 2010 are due by the end of the month. 

A House of Delegates committee is scheduled to hold a hearing today on whether to extend a deal Gov. Martin O'Malley brokered late last year to preserve the number of live racing days in light of the Maryland Jockey Club's financial difficulties. The Jockey Club, owned by Canadian MI Developments and Penn National Gaming, operates the horse tracks.

The legislation being considered would allow the Jockey Club to use revenue generated by the state's fledgling slot-machine gambling program for operating expenses instead of track improvements. A Senate committee hearing on the proposal is scheduled for tomorrow.

Posted by Julie Bykowicz at 11:42 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: 2011 legislative session, Slots
        

Comments

This is thanks to government rationing of gambling. The slot machine is the novelty while the racetrack isn't.
Put slots in every gas station and laundromat like they should be and let's see how the tracks fare.

The state should not be subsidizing illegal immigrants Mr, Mike Miller either..

They should put racing in every gas station and laundromat as well. It is the better product. Maryland racing should be in every pub. Any place you can buy a lotto ticket or play Keno; fair play. Since the advent of racing computers have been invented. No need to calculate take and breakage with a pencil and paper. There is no need for breakage and the take can vary based on the number of runners or if you bet on track verses off track. The lawmakers say there should be no subsidies for racing. On the contrary, Pimlico would make a great State Park. Spring and Fall racing, the great Preakness in May, and the grounds can a dedicated recreational facility for the people of Baltimore year round. The alternative is to continue with the killing fields that exist now. A better bet is to kill racing in order to save racing. Bring back an even better product.

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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