Cordish slots plan favored

Dec 29, 2009 2:48 AM

Laurel Race Course in Maryland, bounced around from the De Francis Family to Magna Entertainment Corp. (MECA) and now up for auction, may not have a future after all.

After months of delays, the Anne Arundel County Council approved a plan proposed by the Cordish Co. for a slots facility near a popular shopping area called the Arundel Mill Mall.

But, the Council also approved a measure that would allow slots at Laurel Park, a plan that was put forth to enhance the value of the property when the bidding starts early next year. Also part of the auction will be Pimlico, the racetrack that serves as home for The Preakness, the second jewel in thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown.

Unfortunately for Laurel, the decision on which two sites gets the slots license has been left with County Executive John Leopold, who is on record as favoring the mall location.

Even before the voting, a spokesman for Leopold told the council that placing the slots facility near the mall was in keeping with the law approved by the state legislature and the constitutional amendment approved by the voters.

The Cordish proposal calls for a 215,000 square foot facility, with a 125,000-square foot gaming floor that would hold 4,750 slot machines.

Once all final approvals are granted, a spokesman said, the property could be open for business by December, 2011.