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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Slots a Dead End in Maryland

- Slots in Maryland and Kentucky seem to be firmly on the road to nowhere. In Maryland, a proposal by Governor Ehrlich is amongst about a dozen bills that have been introduced, but with an expected budget surplus in an election year, slots seem to stand as much of a chance as does Merv Griffin to be standing in the Derby winner’s circle. The House Ways and Means Committee convened last week to hear the proposals. But even the proponents and opponents who appeared before the....Committee seemed a little tired of the subject. [Washington Post]

Among them was a bill sponsored by Del. Galen Clagett, D-Frederick.

In presenting his bill Thursday, Clagett was realistic about its fate. "You might say I'm here to beat a dead horse," he observed. []
Even if a bill did make it out of committee, House Speaker Michael Busch is there like Henrik Lundqvist to swat it aside, as he has for the last three years. Though a bill actually made it to the House floor last year, the differences between it and the Senate version were too much to resolve, as Busch would not even try to negotiate a compromise. Senate President Mike Miller said he had never seen the leader of the other body take such a position. And though Miller insisted that slots are “still "absolutely, positively, unequivocally inevitable," Maryland horsemen, who compete at Laurel for purses totaling $160,000 a day as opposed to $350,000 in New Jersey (where purses are subsidized by Atlantic City casinos), and an expected $450,000 in Pennsylvania once slots get going there, are accepting the inevitable bad news and looking elsewhere for help
Now lawmakers are looking at small fixes to prop up the struggling operations at Laurel Park, Pimlico Race Course and Rosecroft Raceway. They include measures that pump $10 million into the "bred fund" that rewards victories by horses born and raised in Maryland, expand the fund perk to purses outside the state and allow night racing for the first time.

"Slots is not happening, and we have to compete," Billy Boniface, president of the Maryland Horse Breeder's Association…
[The] bill is a far cry from the extensive changes that slots would bring to the industry, but at this point horse industry representatives are willing to take anything.__"It's one of the few options that costs absolutely nothing," said Dennis McCoy, a lobbyist for the breeders' association. [Hometown Annapolis]


Anonymous said...

...i was passing thru Aladdin/Planet Hollywood last night, and was upset to see their new Derby sheet, which shows Discreet Cat chopped to 30/1 (from 75/1) see, they had never lowered the odds after his impressive comeback win in Dubai almost two weeks ago, and i thought perhaps i could head down there after the UAE Derby (if necessary) and still place a bet at the old number...i mean, the race is run overseas, and i've gotta think they'll be paying more attention to college basketball this weekend...

...meanwhile, A.P. Warrior (who of course won the San Felipe over the weekend) remained unchanged @ 50/1...they're really on top of things over there, aren't they?...good grief... 8^P

Baloo said...

Great post! As a resident of the dumb state of Maryland, it pains me to see our great racing history go down the tubes. We are losing breeding and training farms to Pennsylvania and Delaware and nobody in the government seems to care.

Anonymous said...

...i knew it was coming...i could feel the tension building within me...and now, it's finally here...that's right, THE FIRST 2 YEAR-OLD RACE OF THE YEAR!!!...if there's one thing i love about horseracing, it's baby races...from Wednesday all the way thru Del Mar, there'll be some really nice wagering races are da bomb... 8^)