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Maryland Supreme Court Dismisses Laurel Racetrack's Case against State Slots Commission

Maryland's state Supreme Court has dismissed a legal appeal to permit the possibility of slot machine gaming at Laurel Park racing track in Anne Arundel County on September 8th, 2009. But the racing track's operators are not giving up the issue.

The lawyers for the Laurel Racing stated in a letter to the state site selection committee last week that it did not get a fair treatment when the commission dismissed its slots bid in February 2009.

The letter was accompanied by a request for state documents under the Public Information Act of Maryland. Laurel Park's bid to offer slot machines in Anne Arundel were rejected because it lacks an initial licensing cost of $28.5 million - $3million for every five hundred slot machines proposed at the site.

In the new letter, Laurel's attorneys highlight the state commission's current study of revised slots bids for locations in Cecil County and Baltimore.

Applicants have said to the commission that they want to offer a bigger number of slot machines than initially planned. In Baltimore's case, it is a few more than what is originally planned: the Baltimore City Entertainment group's slots proposal has increased from five hundred slot machines to 3,750 slot machines.

At a hearing last month, attorneys from the Maryland Attorney General's Office advised the state commission that possess "broad authority" to study revise slots bids as long as the applicants pay the bigger license costs required and follow other rules.

In the case of the Baltimore slots bidders, that means paying an additional $19.5 million before the commission decides. Attorneys from Rifkin, Livingston, Levitan and Silver, who are representing the Laurel Racetrack, stated that the advice is not consistent with the way the state commission treated Laurel Racetrack and different from the past instructions the commission issued to all slots bidders. Laurel lawyers alleged that the state commission gave Laurel Racetrack a stricter standard.

The letter appears to be paving the way for Laurel's next step. In July 2009, the Maryland Court of Appeals stated that Laurel's legal action was a premature move but said that the track could appeal the awarding of slots license to the Maryland State Board of Contract Appeals.


Wednesday, 23 September 2009
Marissa Patterson