Off-track bet­ting may re­turn to Ce­cil

Club tar­gets Hol­ly­wood Casino lo­ca­tion

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By CH­ERYL MATTIX

cmat­tix@ce­cil­whig.com

— Off-track bet­ting may be re­turn­ing to Ce­cil County, but this time to Per­ryville, not North East.

The Mary­land Jockey Club had pre­vi­ously op­er­ated an off-track bet­ting par­lor at Poor Jimmy’s restau­rant in North East for nearly 15 years but on Tues­day, Sal

ELK­TON

Si­na­tra, its pres­i­dent and CEO, told the Ce­cil County Coun­cil that an ap­pli­ca­tion is pend­ing be­fore the Mary­land Rac­ing Com­mis­sion to open a satel­lite simul­cast bet­ting area in­side the Hol­ly­wood Casino at Per­ryville.

“We’d like to be open by Oct. 22 for the Mary­land Mil­lion race,” he told of­fi­cials.

But, first they must con­duct a pub­lic hear­ing on the pro­posal, which is set for Oct. 5 at the casino in Per­ryville. Signs and ad­ver­tise­ments will be posted, Si­na­tra noted.

De­spite the club’s his­tory at Poor Jimmy’s, Deb­o­rah Pro-Mar­shall, di­rec­tor of OTB op­er­a­tions for the jockey club, said that the Per­ryville op­er­a­tion would be dif­fer­ent.

“This plan is a part­ner­ship be­tween the jockey club, casino and the horse­men and breed­ers,” she said.

It’s also part of the Mary­land Jockey Club’s big­ger plan to res­ur­rect off-track bet­ting in Mary­land and bring more fi­nan­cial sta­bil­ity

to horse rac­ing in part­ner­ship with casi­nos and the Mary­land Thor­ough­bred Horse­men’s As­so­ci­a­tion.

The club opened off-track bet­ting at Horse­shoe Casino in Bal­ti­more and at the Mary­land State Fair­grounds in Ti­mo­nium last year and both those lo­ca­tions are on tar­get to pro­duce about a $13 to $15 mil­lion han­dle, or to­tal value of bets placed, Si­na­tra said.

Con­ser­va­tive es­ti­mates pre­dict that Hol­ly­wood Casino could pro­duce a $10 mil­lion han­dle, Si­na­tra said, which af­ter ex­penses and pay­outs would give each of the three part­ners — the Jockey Club, Horse­men’s As­so­ci­a­tion and Hol­ly­wood Casino — about $430,000 an­nu­ally.

“We see an op­por­tu­nity here,” Si­na­tra said. “This would be good for rac­ing.”

The idea has sup­port from County Ex­ec­u­tive Tari Moore and the county coun­cil, who agreed Tues­day to send a let­ter of sup­port to the Mary­land Rac­ing Com­mis­sion.

“I sup­port this,” Coun­cil­woman Joyce Bowls­bey said.

Coun­cil Vice Pres­i­dent Alan McCarthy also said he was in fa­vor of the pro­posal with Ce­cil County Di­rec­tor of Ad­min­is­tra­tion Al Wein adding that Moore sup­ports it as well.

“She thinks is will pro­mote sus­tain­abil­ity of the Hol­ly­wood Casino at Per­ryville,” Wein told the coun­cil.

Ten­ta­tive plans call for in­stalling tele­vi­sion screens and in­di­vid­ual bet­ting car­ols along with some high- top ta­bles in a roughly 800- square- foot area of the casino that is cur­rently used for poker ta­bles, which will be re­lo­cated.

“We can set the whole thing up in a cou­ple of days,” said Pro- Mar­shall, who used to run the OTB par­lor at Poor Jimmy’s.

She said Poor Jimmy’s bet­ting han­dle went from a high of about $ 18 mil­lion to about $ 8 mil­lion when it closed in 2013.

CE­CIL WHIG FILE PHOTO

Jockey Vic­tor Espinoza, atop Amer­i­can Pharoah, left, flashes a thumbs up af­ter win­ning The Preak­ness Stakes in May 2015. Off-track bet­ting could soon be re­turn­ing to the Ce­cil County.

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