West Virginia and Delaware are set to take away much of the sport betting business of neighboring Maryland. Charles Town in West Virginia is a typical example, lengthening its horse racing season and putting in new slot machines at race courses. Punters and people who enjoy quality recreation are moving their business from Maryland to places such as Charles Town.
Maryland plans to follow the lead of neighboring states, and to improve facilities at its own race courses in a bid to bring punters back across the Potomac, but the House Ways and Means Committee in Annapolis may have missed the bus. Breeders have discovered that Delaware has advantages over Maryland in terms of horse mating, and that foals raised in Delaware take to local race tracks better.
State revenues form horse racing are important for funding education, health care and all the other initiatives of social and community development on which we count. This is a clear case for helping developers build strong following for horse racing in places with major tourist and recreation potential. Opponents of sports betting must reconsider their stands, and work towards bringing in horse racing dollars to bolster essential components of their spending plans. A ballot could well show that the majority of people, especially those with local enterprises, would support better horse racing facilities. There can be another point of view about slot machines, but race course developers are service providers and cannot argue with paying customers who enjoy a quick session at a machine before and after a horse racing session.
California, are you listening?