Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Ehrlich: Rosecroft closure could have been avoided

John Wagner

Update, 7:20 p.m.: Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) said he is "saddened and disappointed" by news that Rosecroft is closing and has asked Secretary of State John McDonough "to bring together the stakeholders and find a way forward that can protect the 200 jobs at Rosecroft."

"We want to do everything that we can to find a viable way forward, to try to help all of those who would otherwise be affected by the loss of jobs," O'Malley told reporters as he filed for re-election Wednesday in Annapolis.

O'Malley said that slots would have been located only at racetracks "if I had my druthers" and noted that Rosecroft was not among the eligible site because the Prince George's legislative delegation opposed the idea.

Original post: Former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) pounced Wednesday on word that Rosecroft Raceway will soon close, calling the demise of the Prince George's County harness track "a sobering reminder of state government's failure to design a viable gaming program in Maryland."

Rosecroft would have been a beneficiary of slot-machine gambling proposals that Ehrlich introduced starting his first year in office in 2003. During Ehrlich's four years, debate over slots in the General Assembly ended in a bitter stalemate.

Lawmakers passed a bill in 2007, after Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) arrived, that authorized slots at five locations subject to voter approval that came in 2008. Though Rosecroft was not among the eligible venues, it was slated to receive a share of proceeds once the program got up and running.

Rosecroft.jpgThe track has been involved in a protracted dispute over what it must pay to simulcast live thoroughbred
-racing -- which "played a large role in our death," according to a statement posted on the Web site of Cloverleaf Enterprises, the track owner.

Earlier this year, Rosecroft appealed to the legislature to legalize gambling on Las Vegas-style card games at the track as another means of revenue. A bill passed the state Senate but died in the House.

In a statement, Ehrlich who is trying to win the job back from O'Malley, asserted that the closure of Rosecroft and an accompanying loss of 200 jobs could have been avoided.

"I was proud to introduce a bipartisan plan for slot machines at Maryland race tracks as far back as 2003," Ehrlich said. "Rosecroft would be on much stronger financial footing today had the legislature adopted that plan and had the O'Malley Administration not bungled implementation of its own flawed plan."

An aide said O'Malley's office planned to issue a statement on the closure later this afternoon.

-- John Wagner & Aaron C. Davis

By John Wagner  |  June 16, 2010; 3:41 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Elections , John Wagner  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Gay rights group: "Maryland is Next!"
Next: First Click, Maryland -- A glimmer of emotion


Wait, I'm confused. Ehrlich is touting his inability as governor to pass a law? What is he saying, elect me, and I'll fail to pass more laws?

Posted by: jongrantham | June 16, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Blame the Dems for killing Rosecroft and horse racing in Maryland. Sure, they love to drink, and get wined and dined at the Preakness, but a working mans race venue like Rosecroft, no way. The Dems did everything they could to stop slots for as long as possible, despite overwhelming public support. The Dems in this state have become the party of the elites.

Posted by: VikingRider | June 16, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Right, the "the dems in this state have become the party of the elites." That makes a lot of sense when all republicans do is whine about how many millionaires have left Maryland.

For Bob Ehrlich to blame State Government for Rosecroft's unfortunate fate is laughable. Bob Ehrlich couldn't even get a slots bill passed when he was Governor, so no way can he say that the "gaming program" in Maryland would be better under him. I guess he thinks he can do a better job now that all of the heavy lifting has been done - the exact heavy lifting he couldn't do himself.

Posted by: hamsandwich | June 17, 2010 7:11 AM | Report abuse

Hamsandwich again you show a failure to understand the legislative process. Ehrlich introduced the slots bill it was the State legislators job to pass the bill

Posted by: cheverly1 | June 17, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Yet another indicator of the fall of PG County into the toilet. Why ensure slot machines at Rosecroft, et. al., when the revenue--not to mention the jobs--generated might bail the county out of it's self-inflicted fatal wounds? Have any of these decision makers driven to Rosecroft? They would surely find the roads almost impassable due to lack of maintenance--if they weren't too busy dodging bullets. I live 1 mile from the track and I'm NOT making that up. Slots could SOLVE a myriad of problems but I guess that makes too much sense. Clearly, it takes a TRUE legislator to see that--not what we have to choose from now.

Posted by: UptoHere2 | June 17, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Cheverly, hamsandwich knows the legislative process. Ehrlich decided from day one it was his job to get rid of all the Democrats who might be willing to work with him. That's why he couldn't get anything accomplished. When you let it be known/that your chief of staff is walking around with a playbook to knock off conservative dems, why would they work with him?

Posted by: unrest | June 17, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company