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Maryland Jockey Club vows to 'continue this fight'

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The president of the Maryland Jockey Club said Monday night's passage of a local zoning bill allowing slots at Arundel Mills mall was "a sad night for Maryland racing."

The Jockey Club, which operates Laurel racetrack, had urged the council to defeat the bill, in hopes of reviving a bid to put slots at the track. An application by the track owners was disqualified in February because it did not include a required $28.5 million licensing fee.

"More than 200 years of history and 15,000 to 20,000 jobs are in peril," Jockey Club President Tom Chuckas said in a statement after the council's vote.

Chuckas confirmed that the club would join forces with Stop Slots at Arundel Mills in an effort to gather enough signatures to halt the zoning bill and put the issue before voters next year.

"We are going to continue to pursue all of our legal options and exhaust all means and measures to continue this fight," Chuckas said.

Laurel is scheduled to be auctioned off next year as part of bankruptcy proceedings. Cordish, the developer of the planned Arundel Mills casino, is one of a half-dozen suitors seeking to buy the track.

Cordish officials say the track can remain viable without slots on site. Under Maryland law, a portion of slots proceeds go to the racing industry regardless of where the machines are.

By John Wagner  |  December 21, 2009; 10:48 PM ET
Categories:  John Wagner , Slots  
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Comments

Getting away from the fact that MEC is never positioned correctly to lobby successfully for an issue in any state it "operates" in, the horse racing industry as a whole is laughably outmaneuvered almost every time in State House politics.

Where are the lobbyists for this multi-billion-dollar sport? Or does misery love company, with horsemen and track owners hoping for "free money" by screaming poverty....a plan that continues to fail miserably and has marginalized the industry to the fringes of consciousness with sports fans and politicians.

Posted by: richardcoreno | December 22, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

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