Two companies that make their money by offering the public a chance to bet on the horse races are battling over a proposal to put an off-track betting parlor in Hagerstown. But the arguments we've heard on this issue so far don't touch on a key issue raised recently by Sue Tuckwell, chairman of the Washington County Gaming Commission.
The issue provoking the battle between Bally's Maryland, Inc., and the Maryland Jockey Club is simulcast racing, in which thoroughbred races from tracks around the nation are beamed to the parlor as they happen, so patrons can bet on them.
Officials of the Jockey Club, which owns the Pimlico and Laurel tracks, say that they should control out-of-state simulcasts. If not, Jockey Club President Joe DeFrancis said, Maryland racing could be deprived of millions needed to support live racing.
Officials of Bally's say that the Jockey Club is demanding up to 15 percent of the amount wagered on out-of-state races. If Bally's contracted independently with out-of-state tracks, Bally's says their cut would be only 3 percent.