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Maryland Race Wagering

Maryland has both standardbred harness and thoroughbred horse racing. The Maryland Racing Commission (MRC), formed in 1920, oversees all racing and pari-mutuel wagering activities in the state, as well as satellite simulcast and intertrack betting. There are four offtrack betting sites in Frederick, Cecil and Charles counties. Maryland hosts the Preakness, held at Pimlico Racetrack, the second jewel of thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown.

The MRC licenses all participants of the horse racing industry, including the track, the trainers and jockeys, and the concessionaires who provide food and drink at the track. The MRC is responsible for the statute-mandated distribution of wagering revenue, and to that end reviews financial statements of racing associations. The MRC has its own laboratory that provides horse and human drug testing to protect competing horsemen and the wagering public and to maintain the integrity of the sport within the state.

The state passed legislation in 2008 authorizing slots at various locations throughout the state, including racetracks. Purses and breeders' awards were to receive 7% of all gaming revenue. The first racino opened at Ocean Downs on 4 January 2011.

On 7 May 2009, two bills were passed: Introduced in January 2009, SB119 extended the termination date of the Maryland Horse Racing Act from 1 July 2011 to 1 July 2014, and required that an evaluation of the MRC be performed by 1 July 2013. And HB1212/SB 99, introduced in February 2009, specified a new allocation of VLT revenue between the Purse Dedication Account and standardbred and thoroughbred breeders, from an 85/15% split to an 89/11% split.

In September 2010, the Perryville VLT facility opened and on 4 January 2011, the Ocean Downs VLT or slot parlor opened. Both began to generate revenue for purses and the breeding programs immediately.

In June 2011, Ocean Downs opened for harness racing for the first time in two years. Unfortunately, the racetrack lost three of its 40 live race days to a hurricane that same year.

In August 2011, the Rosecroft Raceway reopened its racetrack after ceasing operations on 19 June 2010.

In January 2011, HB1039 was introduced, which allowed the state first right of refusal on the sale of the Bowie Racetrack and directed the thoroughbred and standardbred industries to "negotiate, mediate, or agree to binding arbitration" concerning sharing of crossbreed simulcasting revenue. The governor signed the bill into law on 19 May 2011.

In February 2012, HB597 was introduced, which extended from seven to 10 the number of days that mile thoroughbred racetrack licensees were given to pay the daily state tax; authorized a licensee at Pimlico Race Course to conduct live racing of Arabian breed horses under specific circumstances; and extended from three to 10 days the amount of time a track has to pay the $1,000 fee to political subdivisions for intertrack betting for that day.

Maryland Race Wagering Properties

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