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Angelos confirms possible interest in Laurel, slots

Angelos mug.jpgAs reported in the Sunday editions of The Post, a group led by Baltimore Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos is considering making a bid to buy Laurel Park racetrack with the hope of securing a slot-machine license if plans fall through to build a casino at Arundel Mills mall.

Those plans were disclosed in an interview Friday night with Nathan Landow, who said that he and Wayne Rogers, both former chairmen of the Maryland Democratic Party, are involved in the effort with Angelos. Landow is a real-estate developer; Rogers owns an Annapolis-based energy company.

"We're working toward that goal," Landow said. "Peter's been leading the group, carrying the ball."

Angelos confirmed Landow's characterization in a brief interview Saturday, saying: "Certainly the matter is under consideration. ... My key interest is the preservation of thoroughbred racing in Maryland."

The fate of a bid to put 4,750 slot machines at Arundel Mills mall could effectively be decided Monday, when the Anne Arundel County Council takes up a zoning bill needed to move that project forward.

If the zoning bill fails, a state commission would likely re-open bidding for a slots license in Anne Arundel, allowing the new owners of Laurel Park and others to apply for the license. A slots bid by the track's current owners was disqualified by the state in February because it did not include a required $28.5 million licensing fee.

The track owners, Magna Entertainment, are now in bankruptcy and selling off Laurel and its other Maryland properties, including Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, home of the Preakness Stakes.

Earlier this year, Angelos met with Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and told reporters he had pledged to help keep the Preakness in Maryland.

Angelos has expressed interest in slots at several points in recent years as the Maryland legislature debated the issue.

Last year, a group including Landow, Rogers and Angelos's son, Louis, gave $300,000 to a group lobbying for passage of the statewide ballot measure that authorized five slots sites in Maryland.

It remains unclear what level of involvement Peter Angelos could have in a slots operation. In the past, he has avoided expressing interest in direct ownership, citing restrictions by Major League Baseball related to gambling.

In 2004, Peter Angelos's wife and two sons struck a tentative deal to buy Rosecroft Raceway, a financially struggling harness-racing track in Prince George's County, at a time when it appeared it could be a possible slots venue. At the time, Peter Angelos billed himself as an informal adviser to the family, which backed out of the deal when prospect for slots at the track dimmed.

Gerard Evans, a lobbyist who represents Angelos in Annapolis, said Angelos and his fellow investors are "very serious" about making a bid to buy Laurel.

"They're committed to horse racing, open space and helping the Maryland school system," said Evans, referring to the share of slots proceeds that are earmarked for education programs.

By John Wagner  |  December 5, 2009; 8:15 PM ET
Categories:  John Wagner  
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Go PA, you have a lousy baseball team, perhaps you'lll do better with horse racing and slots. Got to put them one armed bandits where the people are.

Posted by: VikingRider | December 5, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

So nice to see that greed-head Angelos is so committed to our schoolchildren. Gerry Evans, please read your quote. You sound like a disengenuous a-hole. No wonder you are such a successful lobbyist. A pox on you, Angelos, Rickman, DeFrancis, Cordish-the whole lot. This is the most screwed up law this state has ever seen. And that's saying something!

Posted by: WoodrowRoosevelt | December 5, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

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