Maryland Simulcast Dispute to Arbitration

Noting his disappointment that representatives from the Standardbred and Thoroughbred industries have failed to resolve a simulcasting stalemate, Maryland labor secretary Alexander M. Sanchez has directed both parties to consent to binding arbitration.

The action by Sanchez came after state-ordered mediation failed to bring the two sides together in an agreement that would permit Rosecroft Raceway, a Standardbred race track in Prince George’s County, Md., to import and accept wagers on out-of-state Thoroughbred races.

Rosecroft, a harness track that has been closed for live racing since 2008 and at one time was a major simulcast facility, reopened earlier this year under ownership of a Penn National Gaming Inc. subsidiary.

Sanchez, who facilitated the 90 days of mediation mandated by the legislature, said he acted in accordance with the legislation passed by the General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Martin O’Malley.

“I appreciate the good faith that representatives from the Standardbred and Thoroughbred industries showed during the mediation process but am disappointed that no agreement could be reached,” Sanchez said in a statement. “As required by legislation passed by the General Assembly and signed by Governor O’Malley earlier this year, I am directing all involved parties to consent to de novo binding arbitration before the American Arbitration Association or with an independent arbitrator of my choosing and their approval. I am hopeful the two industries will reach a mutually beneficial agreement through arbitration that will lay the foundation for a long-term solution that honors and protects Maryland’s storied racing tradition.”

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