PNGI Seeks to End MID Maryland Partnership

PNGI has said it wants to end its Maryland partnership with MI Developments.

Penn National Gaming Inc. is in negotiations with MI Developments to unload its 49% interest in the Maryland Jockey Club.

Sources told The Blood-Horse Feb. 25 PNGI officials met with state government leaders the week of Feb. 20 to outline the company’s intentions. Though it wants to end its partnership with the MJC, which operates Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, PNGI will continue to own and operate Hollywood Casino at Perryville in Maryland and hopes to close on the purchase of Rosecroft Raceway, a shuttered Maryland harness track, the week of Feb. 27.

PNGI will continue to lobby for an expansion of gambling in Maryland, sources said.

When PNGI entered the partnership with MID last year, there appeared a chance Laurel could end up with slot machines. Anne Arundel County voters, however, upheld zoning changes for slots at the nearby Arundel Mills Mall, ending the MJC’s bid for gaming at Laurel barring changes in state law.

Officials have said it’s unlikely the state would allow for two slots casinos in proximity.

Rosecroft is located south of Washington, D.C., in an area with no gaming. PNGI was the winning bidder at about $11 million in an auction earlier this year and said it plans to restore live racing at Rosecroft, which is eligible for some revenue from slots at other locations in Maryland.

Some legislators support an expansion of gaming to the harness track, but local officials have resisted.