The Maryland Racing Commission on Wednesday voted to allow more than one racing entity to offer home telephone wagering services, rejecting arguments made by the Maryland Jockey Club that a single license would be more efficient, according to the Washington Post.
The commission's action represented a "minor blow" to efforts by Laurel Park and Pimlico Racecourse owner Joe De Francis in his efforts to keep Delaware Park owner William Rickman from gaining a toehold in Maryland racing, the paper reported.
While De Francis told commissioners a single phone-betting service would be less confusing to customers, Delaware Park vice president Bill Fazy read a statement that said "the single system approach would…create conflicts between the track licensees and would fail to deliver the best possible product to existing and potential racing fans. Traditionally, state-created monopolies are notoriously poor service providers," according to the Post.
Rickman has submitted a license application for a new track in Maryland. As a result of the commission action, Rickman's track would be able to operate in-home betting if the track is licenses. Benefiting from slot machine gaming revenues, Delaware Park has become a formidable competitor for Maryland's two Thoroughbred tracks operated by MJC.
Last week, MJC agreed to provide a $5.1 million loan to Rosecroft Raceway for its purchase of Ocean Downs, a Maryland Standardbred track that Rickman was attempting to buy.