State expected to mediate simulcast negotiations

The state is expected to mediate negotiations on a new simulcasting agreement between Rosecroft Raceway and representatives of Maryland's thoroughbred racing.

A state law aimed at helping the ailing industry calls for state-led mediation if Rosecroft and the Maryland Jockey Club, along with thoroughbred horse owners and breeders, fail to reach a deal to broadcast thoroughbred races at the Prince George's County harness track by Friday.

The parties have not made progress. Eric Schippers, a spokesman for Penn National Gaming, which owns Rosecroft, said Thursday that the company expects the talks to go into mediation.

The Jockey Club, too, expressed similar sentiments.

Alexander Sanchez, secretary of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, would lead the mediation.

Rosecroft, which emerged from bankruptcy earlier this year, stopped paying millions in fees to the thoroughbred industry in 2009, saying that the agreement was no longer affordable for the money-losing operation.

An agreement must be reached in order for the Jockey Club to be eligible for slots subsidies starting next year. The legislation requires the parties to agree to arbitration if a deal is not hammered out by Oct. 1.