If you can’t beat ‘em…

June 29, 2013 · Posted in Business and industry, Maryland Politics, Politics 

On Tuesday I received an e-mail which I found had no shortage of irony, something which made an otherwise boilerplate press release worth the post.

It was a release about how Maryland horsemen are reaping the benefits from Rosecroft Raceway in Prince George’s County – purses are up and preferences are given to Maryland-bred horses, including enhanced purses when seven or more such horses compete in a race with at least eight participants. To be honest I don’t follow horse racing so that meant nothing to me.

Instead, the money quote (literally) was this otherwise throwaway line:

Rosecroft’s owner has submitted a proposal for the Prince George’s gaming license. The proposal includes a $700 million total investment that includes a hotel and first class integrated gaming and racing facility. Maryland’s Video Lottery Facility Location Commission is expected to make a decision on the award of the license sometime in late 2013.

Surely you should remember that Penn National Gaming, the entity which owns Rosemont, was just scant months ago throwing everything but the kitchen sink into an effort to defeat Question 7, the ballot initiative allowing the Prince George’s facility to be constructed. Their worry was a facility there would cut into the profits from a casino they operate in Charles Town, West Virginia. Amazing how principles go out the window when money is at stake.

It’s obvious I’m still on Penn National’s mailing list from the time when Question 7 was on the ballot, particularly since I was also against the ballot question but for different reasons. (I still contend Article XIX of the Maryland Constitution should be stricken so the General Assembly can change these parameters without the need for a popular vote.) If it weren’t for the sheer hypocrisy of Penn National possibly getting the facility they were dead-set against I would have just deleted the release.

I really have nothing against gambling; although I’ve never set foot in a Maryland casino I have enjoyed casino wagering in Delaware, Michigan, Ontario, Atlantic City, and Las Vegas. My contention is strictly one of the Maryland General Assembly not doing its job.

But it seems very fishy to me that an entity can turn on a dime like that – it would almost be like the case where the Susan G. Komen Foundation reversed course regarding donations to Planned Parenthood twice in a short span of time. There won’t be that kind of backlash in this case, but we now see where the priorities for Penn National Gaming lie. It’s all about the Benjamins, isn’t it?

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