Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Maryland Update 9/19

The Maryland Racing Commission was informed yesterday that the Maryland Jockey Club is working on a proposal for a new simulcast betting facility in Solomons (Calvert County). This would be the fifth OTB in Maryland.

The commission also heard a presentation from Tom Perez, secretary of the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, on his report to Gov. Martin O'Malley on slot machines and the racing industry.

Perez said the purpose of his report was to determine whether Maryland horse racing should be saved. The answer, he said, "Is a resounding yes." He said his report also examined the impact of slots on communities.

"There are those who have strong objections to them," he said. "And that's fine. We welcome their opinions. That's what democracy is about. Everyone is allowed an opinion, but there is only one set of facts ... that's the information we're trying to get out."

On the slots issue, Perez said during his presentation that his report analyzed how much money is generated by slots in surrounding states. He said that while he has been told slots don't always generate the large sums of money people anticipate, he said the first six months the machines operated in Pennsylvania this year $5 billion was bet.

Perez also said he examined whether slots contribute to increased crime.

"There are those who argue that slots are a regressive tax on the poor and that crime will increase," Perez said. "Either of those arguments would be powerful -- if they were true. But we've found absolutely no connection. In fact in the towns that have added slot machines crime has gone down, primarily because people have jobs."

Well, we now know that the Governors slot proposal will benefit the horse racing industry. We now have to wait to see how much!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Clearly, it seemed as if Perez really, truly one hundred percent got it. It's encouraging if you think Maryland racing has gotten a raw deal in the economic dynamics of the Mid-Atlantic racing scene. How the state' politicos spent all that time bickering while Del., Pa., W.Va., cleaned their economic clocks is beyond me. What did Maryland do? It put out a fake horse racing lottery game. Beyond pathetic. It looks, however, like there is hope after all.


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