Maryland Horseracing

Horse racing in Maryland has a long and storied history dating back to the formation of the Maryland Jockey Club in 1743. Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore is the second oldest horse racing track in the United States and home to the second "jewel" of racing's Triple Crown - the Preakness Stakes. However, Maryland horse racing has seen a great number of changes over the years in terms of tracks, betting practices, and patronage.

Horse racing currently competes with a multitude of other activities for wagering and entertainment dollars. This has been increasingly true in recent years with the introduction and/or authorization of video lottery terminal (VLT) gambling in several nearby states, including Delaware, West Virginia, New York, and Pennsylvania. The introduction of VLT gambling in Delaware and West Virginia, with a dedicated portion of the proceeds going to the horse racing industry, has bolstered racing in those states through significant increases in purse and bred fund amounts. This has led to increased pressure on the Maryland racing industry to find ways to stay competitive.

The challenges facing the State's racing industry have led to the biggest change sought by the industry in recent years - authorizing VLTs at racetracks and dedicating a portion of the proceeds to the racing industry. While legislation to legalize expanded gambling had been introduced each year since the early 1990s, the issue gained far greater attention with Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr's introduction of VLT gambling legislation in 2003.

The Ehrlich Administration offered VLT legislation in each year of the 2003-2006 legislative term, and a variety of other legislative initiatives that would have authorized and/or restricted VLT gambling at Maryland's horse racing tracks and additional locations were also introduced during the term, but all of these legislative proposals ultimately failed.

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Horseracing Tracks