Maryland has a tentative plan in place to reallocate $4 million in proceeds from state slot machines to allow for a full calendar of 146 racing days and to keep the Preakness Stakes in Maryland.
The agreement awaits approval from the Maryland Racing Commission.
The proposed agreement ends a long standoff between horse and track owners. The Jockey Club, which owns major racetracks, wanted to ensure they’d at least break even after years of taking losses. The slot machine subsidization will help.
But justifying the thoroughbred racing industry is becoming increasingly difficult. For years the popularity of betting on the races was provided a nice chunk of change for the state. But years of dwindling interest have reduced gambling proceeds to losses for many states.
New York, for one, did away with OTB sites as a result. Now, the industry is on life support, mostly for the jobs it provides.
While the horse racing industry is unlikely to provide much return on Maryland’s $4 million investment, it’s nice to see the tradition-rich Preakness Stakes stay put.
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