Here at The Equiery, we are still scratching our heads about Question 7, as we don’t understand how Maryland got from “we need to have slots casinos in order to ensure the viability of racing” to “we need table games in order to ensure the viability of casinos.” Something about all of this just does not make sense to us.

However, apparently the majority of voting Marylanders thought this was a swell idea and voted in favor of Question 7, and the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association is very upbeat about what this will mean to racing.

Interestingly, and ironically, the campaign against gambling expansion was led by the gambling company Penn National Gaming Inc., which spent $42 million to protect the company’s lucrative Charles Town, WV raci­no business. However, with the passage of Question 7, Penn National-–which owns Rosecroft Raceway–does intend to submit a bid for a casino at Rosecroft, although it is expected that National Harbor will be the favored location.

The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (which represents licensed flat track trainers and backstretch workers) believes that the impact of expanded gambling on the Maryland racing indus­try will be largely posi­tive.

According to the MTHA, “Currently, 7% of revenue generated from slots in Maryland (up to $100­ million yearly) is directed toward horsemen and breeders. That 7% is then divided between the Thor­oughbred and Standardbred industries on an 80/20­percentage basis. The Maryland­ bred Fund receives 11% of the Thoroughbred share, and the remaining 89% goes to the Thoroughbred Purse Account. Under the new legislation, the 7% share would remain intact from five casinos until a new Prince George’s County casino is op­erational; in that case, the percentage would decline to 6% but then be generated from six casino locations. The $100 ­million yearly cap would remain intact. According to nonpartisan, independent analysis from the Department of Legislative Services (DLS), the Purse Dedication Account should see a net positive increase of more than $13 million over the next five years and over $10 ­million annually once all sites are fully operational. The passage of this legislation signals a big win for Maryland’s Thoroughbred horsemen and breeders.”

Other Maryland racing organizations have not issued similar statements. Several casinos have already indicated (see The Daily Record) that they intend to replace a number of slot machines with table games, as the table games are taxed at a lower level (20%) than slot machines (67%).

And the beat goes on.

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