Preakness Stakes betting reached $54.56 million Saturday, the bottom complete deal with on the race since 2020.

The center jewel of horse racing’s Triple Crown skilled a 16% drop in deal with in comparison with final yr when horseplayers wager $65.3 million. Preakness Stakes betting dropped greater than 20% since hitting report ranges in 2021 at $68.7 million.

In accordance with race charts, the general deal with throughout 14 races at Pimlico Race Course on Saturday ($100.2 million) dropped 5% in comparison with Preakness Day 2022 ($105.5 million.)

MD sports activities betting contributes extra to state income

The Stronach Group owns the Maryland Jockey Membership, and manages Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park, Maryland’s different thoroughbred race observe. The Stronach Group additionally owns the Preakness.

Betting on horse racing from each tracks reached $501.5 million in 2021, the most recent yr knowledge is accessible from the Maryland Racing Fee. The state collected $1.82 million in tax income.

To check, MD sports activities betting dealt with $980 million and contributed $6.1 million in tax income to the state in 2022. Maryland has obtained $14 million in sports activities betting tax income to start 2023. On-line sports activities betting launched within the state close to the top of 2022.

Uncertainty over MD horse racing

With the Preakness Stakes within the rearview mirror, native stakeholders are shifting their focus to sustaining the way forward for Maryland racing.

Alan Foreman, common counsel for the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Affiliation, described racing within the Previous Line State as uncompetitive and “not a mannequin for the longer term.”

Foreman estimates all the equine trade creates $2 billion in financial exercise in Maryland, with $525 million coming from racing alone.

Hoosier finest comparability?

Indiana is a state with a similar-sized sports activities betting market. In accordance with a latest Purdue College research, the Hoosier State’s thoroughbred racing trade contributed $933 million to the state’s economic system in 2021, producing $1.44 billion in financial exercise.

In 2019, the most recent full-year knowledge obtainable, thoroughbred racing deal with in Indiana reached greater than $134 million. The state obtained $2.1 million in income.

Mounting issues in final 5 years

When Maryland legalized slot machines in 2012, the Stronach Group did not make a bid to deliver extra gaming to Laurel Park. Consequently, trade sources inform LSR infrastructure on the two tracks began to say no considerably with out the added income stream.

In 2018, Stronach informed Baltimore metropolis officers it deliberate to completely shut Pimlico and transfer the Preakness to Laurel Park. Invoice Cole, a Maryland Stadium Authority board member, efficiently negotiated on behalf of the town to maintain the race in Baltimore.

“Pimlico is essential to our elected leaders. It is extremely necessary to the Metropolis of Baltimore,” Cole informed LSR final week.

Pimlico points main as much as Preakness Day

A 6,700-seat part of the grandstand was shut down on Preakness Day in 2019 after engineers decided {that a} piece of the constructing was unsafe. Overflowing bathrooms put a damper on the joy that day too.

Main as much as this yr’s race, experiences circulated on social media final week a few broken-down elevator stopping media members from accessing the press field.

Extra issues at Laurel Park

Laurel Park suspended racing twice in April. A number of horse deaths introduced on issues concerning the racing floor. In each situations, racing and coaching halted for just a few days, then resumed.

“We all know Laurel has super issues that can not be allowed to proceed long run,” Foreman mentioned.

How one can maintain future racing in Maryland?

In 2020, Maryland lawmakers authorized HB1056, the Racing and Group Growth Act. It approved $375 million in bonds to pay for the rebuilding of Laurel Park and Pimlico. Not one of the work has began although, because the undertaking was not possible given the funds and required work.

“The unique deal we did for Laurel Park didn’t anticipate among the building challenges we encountered particularly relating to the observe floor,” Cole mentioned.

Maryland’s horse racing trade in fiscal yr 2022 obtained $90.8 million from on line casino gaming to assist racing purses and its services. The trade then depends on betting deal with for funding, which Foreman believes makes any future plans financially difficult.

Newest redevelopment plans on maintain

On April 24, Gov. Wes Moore signed SB720 into legislation, creating the Maryland Thoroughbred Racetrack Working Authority (MTROA.) It should oversee redevelopment plans and decide one of the best future for Maryland horse racing.

“It’s going to have a look at varied working fashions going ahead and the economics of the trade,” Foreman mentioned. “The MTROA will examine the choices that contain consolidating racing in Maryland. They’ll discover public-private partnerships and revolutionary methods of working sooner or later.”

SB720 takes impact on June 1. The MTROA should current no less than two potential choices to the state legislature by December 1, 2023.

“It’s an enormous undertaking and one of the vital sophisticated initiatives anybody has ever seen,” Foreman mentioned. “There is no such thing as a playbook for this.”

Future for Pimlico and Preakness?

Redeveloping Pimlico can’t go ahead until a consolidation plan is in place. Foreman defined that consolidating racing and redeveloping Pimlico are interdependent.

Foreman admits there are challenges with making Pimlico the year-round residence of Maryland racing. The 1,400 horses stabled at Laurel Park, plus backstretch staff dwelling on the grounds, would all want lodging.

“Pimlico shouldn’t be massive sufficient to accommodate the consolidation of Laurel Park. There may be inadequate room for the stalls, there’s inadequate housing for the backstretch staff. It has numerous challenges,” Foreman mentioned. “When you make Pimlico the year-round hub, how do you accommodate the wants of the trade?”

Pimlico and the Preakness ‘too necessary’ to Baltimore

The state legislature and Gov. Moore have made clear the Preakness will proceed to be held at Pimlico. Cole believes that’s an absolute, which requires the trade to rebuild the ability.

“I discover it unattainable to consider there’s a path that doesn’t embody a rebuilt Pimlico,” Cole mentioned. “The Preakness is just too necessary. Nobody desires to lose the second jewel of the Triple Crown.

Cole added that doing nothing shouldn’t be an possibility as a result of Maryland at present has two failing services.

Neither the Stronach Group nor its lawyer Alan Rifkin responded to a number of requests for remark from LSR.

By Editor

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