By David Schultz
On Monday night, the county council is scheduled to decide whether or not to allow slot machines at Arundel Mills Mall in Hanover.
Tom Chukas, president of the Maryland Jockey Club, says if the council allows slots there instead of at Laurel Park Race Track, the state's struggling horse racing industry won't recover. "Slots are absolutely essential because we can't compete with the surrounding jurisdictions," says Chukas.
Laurel Park did make a bid for the slot machines earlier this year, but its bid wasn't considered because the racetrack's then-owner, Magna Entertainment, didn't include a mandatory $28 million fee.
Shortly after its bid failed, Magna declared bankruptcy. Racing industry supporters want the county council to reject the Arundel Mills Mall proposal, so the bidding can be re-opened and Laurel Park's new owner can get another chance.