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Best Upside to Expanded Gambling

Better Gambling at the Racetracks

Expanded gambling in Maryland—first, slots in 2008, then table games and more slots in 2012—is often talked about in terms of revenues it will bring to education. But so far, it’s the horsetracks that have seen a genuine improvement. We were aghast when, a few years ago at Pimlico, a friend hit a $2 trifecta—all three winning horses, in precisely the right order—and went to the window to collect about $25. That’s abominable. Thanks to gambling-based subsidies, though, Maryland is doing better. Race 5 at Laurel Park on March 15, for instance, had a $4,595.20 payout for a $2 trifecta. And, according to a recent Los Angeles Times article, “since the slots started contributing to racing in Maryland, the average daily purse”—the amount paid out to horse-owners—“went from $160,000 to its current $250,000.” Thanks, casinos.

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