The Ehrlich slots proposal

Here's a look at Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s proposals for slot machines at Central Maryland racetracks:

Original proposal, introduced on Jan. 6:

  • A maximum of 10,500 slot machines at four tracks: 3,000 each at Pimlico, Laurel and Rosecroft; 1,500 at a track planned for Allegany County.

  • All machines would be owned or leased by the State of Maryland and monitored by a new commission.

  • Slots would operate at the four tracks from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m., 365 days a year -- except for leap year.

  • Upfront licensing fees of $100 million to be charged to the four racetracks.

  • The state would receive a total of $350 million from the licensing fees from the four racetracks. Another $45 million would come from slots proceeds in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2004.

  • Minority participation would be required, to be based on a formula.

  • Slots revenues would be distributed this way: 24.8 percent to slots operators licensees; 63.9 percent to the new Maryland Education Trust Fund (to address the Thornton Commission's recommendations); 3 percent to local jurisdictions in which the tracks are located; 5.8 percent for racing purses; $500,000 annually to a state agency to treat compulsive gambling.

  • In addition, less than 1 percent each would go to the racetracks at the Maryland State Fair and to Ocean Downs, which would not have slots, and 1.4 percent to horse breeders.

    The revised proposal, introduced on March 5, includes these changes:

  • An increase to a maximum of 11,500 slots at the four tracks: 3,500 each at Pimlico, Laurel and Rosecroft; 1,000, reduced by 500, at Allegany County.

  • Upfront licensing fees were cut to $40 million.

  • The state now would receive $120 million from the licensing fees from the racetracks.

  • Changes to the distribution of revenues include: 46 percent to slots operators; 44 percent to the Maryland Education Trust Fund; 2.8 percent for racing purses; 0.1 percent to the state agency for treating compulsive gambling.
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