October 29, 2010

Cordish Lambasts Jockey Club for Threatening Closure

(HANOVER, MD) – Cordish Company Chairman, David Cordish, stated today, in response to a press conference announcement this morning by the Maryland Jockey Club that it would close its Maryland tracks if unsuccessful on Ballot Question A, "If the out-of-state and foreign owners of the tracks want to bail on Maryland horseracing, we stand ready, willing and able to buy the tracks and return Maryland horseracing to national prominence. 

Our slots facility will remain at Arundel Mills.  Only the Mills has a license and it is not subject to further Referendum.   Under no circumstances can or will slots be moved to Laurel.  There are multiple reasons for keeping the slots at Arundel Mills. 

(1) The State licensed Cordish for the Mills because it maximizes revenue to the State Education Fund and the Mills will produce $400 million a year for this Fund.  These funds are mandated by the Constitution to go to a separate segregated Education Trust Fund and cannot be moved.

(2) 9-1/2% of gross revenues from Arundel Mills will be paid to the horse racing industry and racing will receive a much higher annual amount from the Mills than anywhere else in the State.

(3) The Mills casino is in an independent building separated by a road from Arundel Mills.  It is in an ideal commercial district and not a massive residential neighborhood like Laurel.

(4) The Mills is the #1 tourist destination in Maryland, with excellent road patterns.  Multiple road access.  Laurel has access from only one minor road where traffic is already a disaster.

It is reprehensible that these foreign companies would be funding an effort to delay the flow of massive funds to Horse Racing, with Arundel Mills licensed and ready to maximize slots revenue not only to Horse Racing, but to Education in our State and Anne Arundel County." 

Sharon Roberts, Executive Vice President of the Cloverleaf Standardbreds Owners Association further stated, "Today’s announcement shows why Maryland horse racing would be much better off in the stewardship of Maryland based ownership.  The new ownership of Laurel and Pimlico bought the tracks in bankruptcy knowing they did not and would not have a slots license.  To now threaten they would close the tracks without slots is nothing short of extortion and the people of our State should not stand for it."

Ralph Hayward, President of the Standardbred Breeders Association added, "Fortunately the State of Maryland has the statutory right to take the tracks by eminent domain, and that is exactly what they should do if the Jockey Club follows through on its threats.  With the new revenues to be generated by the Arundel Mills slots facility, the industry is finally in a position to compete in today's marketplace.  We employ 1500 people directly and another 700 through 200 separate breeder farms.  The horse racing industry strongly urges everyone to vote FOR Question A."

The Maryland State Lottery VLT Location Commission determined that Arundel Mills was one of the top gaming sites in the entire country.   The Cordish Company urges Anne Arundel County voters to Vote For Question A this November 2nd to help generate tens of millions of dollars to subsidize the horse racing industry creating $400 million per year of new funds to the State’s Education Trust Fund which is locked in by the Maryland Constitution and cannot be altered by the State, and millions for Anne Arundel County.  The Referendum is about jobs and lower taxes for Anne Arundel County.

It is time for voters to bet on the home team.  The State asked us and Laurel to put up $28 million.  We did so; Laurel put up zero and filed bankruptcy. 


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