The family of Peter G. Angelos has pulled out of the deal to buy Rosecroft Raceway at the last minute, possibly hindering the drive for slot machines in Maryland.
Officials of the raceway, a harness track outside Washington, D.C., showed up at 10 a.m. Feb. 15 to close the deal, already approved by the Maryland Racing Commission.
An attorney for the Angelos family unexpectedly requested a penalty-free extension of 60 days, which would have delayed the closing until after the current legislative session. Legislators are considering bills that would legalize slot machines in the state.
Rosecroft officials rejected the extension and issued a release stating that the Angelos family was "concerned over events taking place in Annapolis." The Washington Post
reported that the previous night all 23 delegates from Prince George's County, where Rosecroft is located, voiced opposition to slot machines in their county.
Angelos, a high-powered lawyer and majority owner of the Baltimore Orioles, is forbidden by Major League Baseball from owning a racetrack. The purchase agreement was in the name of his wife, Georgia.
Still, Angelos was expected to lend his considerable political clout to the lobbying effort for slots. Also, the $13 million deal for Rosecroft was expected to stabilize the ownership situation at the financially struggling track. This was the third time in the past two years that deals to buy Rosecroft fell apart.
This week, the Maryland Senate is considering legislation that would allow 15,500 slot machines at four tracks to be designated later and three other locations. At the same time, the House of Delegates is holding hearings on slots legislation. Bills authorizing slots in Maryland died the past two years in the House without ever coming to the floor for a vote.