Commission renews three OTB licenses


Community groups who had opposed the opening of the state's first off-track betting parlor in Urbana earlier this year were absent yesterday when the Maryland Racing Commission renewed the parlor's license for 1994 at the board's monthly meeting.

"We got a few letters that cited instances [traffic accidents] near the facility," said Kenneth Schertle, the board's executive director. "But we checked them out and found they were not related to the operation itself."

John Poole, proprietor of the Cracked Claw, said the accidents stemmed from activities held at the local fire department. "We have had no problems," he said.

Poole, who didn't attend the hearing, added that he spends $3,500 a week on security. "We are probably over-secured," he ** said.

Since the Cracked Claw opened about seven months ago, it has averaged about $105,000 a day in bets, easily the best of the state's three OTB facilities.

There was also no opposition voiced concerning the renewal of the 1994 license for the Poor Jimmy's outlet in North East and the Rosecroft inter-track operation held nightly at Pimlico Race Course, which technically is considered an off-track site.

Poor Jimmy's averages about $59,000 daily in bets, according to statistics compiled by the state's thoroughbred and harness tracks. Ted Snell, president of Rosecroft and Delmarva raceways, said the nightly harness simulcasts at Pimlico average about $65,000.

Only OTBs that were licensed before July 1 were up for renewal.

* The Manfuso brothers, Joe De Francis and their respective attorneys met for about 2 1/2 hours yesterday, but have not reached an agreement on issues pertaining to a settlement proposal between the two sides.

A court source said the groups are tentatively set to continue discussions at 2 p.m. tomorrow in the chambers of Joseph H.H. Kaplan, chief administrative judge of the Baltimore City Circuit Court.

De Francis wants a complete settlement on all issues involved in the long-standing dispute he has had with the Manfusos before he will proceed with honoring a buyout clause in a stockholders agreement.

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