Less than a year after Maryland voters overwhelmingly passed “Question 1: The Gambling Revenue Dedicated to Education Lockbox Amendment,” Baltimore politicians are proposing to divert money from it to pay for the reconstruction of the Pimlico Racetrack.
The plan is part of an agreement to give still more public money to the owners of Pimlico for facilities renovation. The arrangement is intended to keep the Preakness Stakes at the northwest Baltimore track. Yet, from 2010 through 2018, Maryland’s horse racing industry, including breeders and the harness racing tracks, have already received $415 million in state financial support. Of that about $66 million has gone to racetrack facilities.
According to the Baltimore Sun: “Crucial to the plan is convincing lawmakers to extend the life of a subsidy for the tracks called the “Racetrack Facilities Renewal Account.” The state’s casinos each pay a certain percentage of their slot machine profits into the fund, which is used for upgrades at the tracks.