Maryland off-track betting expansion clears another hurdle

By: Tom LaMarra

Posted: July 15, 2017

Maryland took another step toward expanding its off-track betting network when the Hampstead Zoning Board of Appeals approved a plan to locate a facility adjacent the Greenmount Station Restaurant.

Hampstead is located in Carroll County, not far from the cities of Westminster and Reisterstown in Maryland and Hanover in Pennsylvania.

The Zoning Board of Appeals approved the plan in June but withheld action pending an update on whether sufficient parking would be available. A neighboring daycare facility had expressed concern over whether there would be enough spaces should an OTB parlor open.

The situation was resolved when David Richardson, who had been attempting to purchase the Greenmount Bowl—located in the same complex—for almost two years, told Hampstead officials he had closed on the deal. Bowling alley parking would now be available for OTB patrons.

Like other OTB facilities in Maryland, the Hampstead parlor would be a partnership among the Maryland Jockey Club, Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and the operator, Greenmount Station, which will provide food service to OTB patrons.

When the Zoning Board of Appeals approved the OTB plan July 6, MJC President Sal Sinatra said the company wouldn’t pursue the OTB parlor without an agreement on parking. He said the MJC, when the Maryland Racing Commission considers the proposal, would notify the regulatory agency of the agreement.

“We’d be proud to come to this community,” Sinatra told the board. “We don’t want to be disruptive.”

MRC licensing and a few county approvals are still needed. The MRC would first schedule a public hearing in or near Hampstead before it votes on the OTB plan.

Sinatra noted the MJC, since he arrived in late 2014, has launched OTB operations at the Maryland State Fair in Timonium, Horseshoe Casino in downtown Baltimore, Hollywood Casino at Perryville, and the Boonsboro Event Center east of Hagerstown. Along with Hampstead, it is pursuing another OTB parlor at MGM National Harbor.

The MJC has another OTC facility, Riverboat on the Potomac, which has been operating for decades just off the Virginia coast in Maryland waters.

The MJC also offers year-round simulcast wagering at its three Maryland tracks: Laurel Park, Pimlico Race Course and Rosecroft Raceway.

(Photo by Tom LaMarra)