Slots in Maryland
As you have undoubtedly read or heard on the news, the Senate and House continue to debate the introduction of slots in Maryland. It is important to note that as much as we would love to see the government agree on slots, our Partnerships are not dependent on this occurring. Maryland is surrounded by States that offer slots and competitive thoroughbred horse racing. And while we do not intend to use this forum to express political views, it is a bit ironic if not hypocritical to allow advertising for slots in Delaware and West Virginia along I-95 in downtown Baltimore. According to some politicians, Baltimore is a city that does not want to be associated with slots.
It is important for citizens of Maryland to understand that thoroughbred horse racing is not only a sport, it is an extensive industry that provides many benefits to both individuals and the government.
• $5.2 billion equine related assets
• 28,800 thoroughbreds
• 8,400 horses sold at and average of $14,196 per sale
• 38,000 people involved in equine industry
Property, sales and employment taxes result in substantial revenue to the government. In addition, the government receives proceeds from all wagering. If horsemen are required to take their business to surrounding States due to declining opportunities in Maryland, this has a major impact on the economy.
Without slots, Maryland cannot offer competitive thoroughbred horse racing at all levels. For example (as of January 2007), a purse for a $10,000 claiming race in Maryland is $18,000 while a purse for the same race at Charles Town is $24,000. If a thoroughbred is running at the $10,000 claiming level (which is not a level we typically target), the Manager will obviously choose to run at Charles Town. However, Maryland offers competitive purses for higher claiming levels, Allowance and Stakes races and provides good opportunities for horses running at these levels.
2006 was another frustrating year that resulted in no positive movement on the slots debate. We can only hope things improve this year after the political hurdle of having a Republican Governor in a heavily Democratic State was removed during the 2006 vote. Politicians need to put their personal agendas aside and realize Maryland continues to lose jobs, tax revenue and business revenue to surrounding States.
Select the following links for more information on the census results: