- Published: Saturday, 02 December 2017 21:08
The Maryland Racing Commission the evening of Nov. 29 approved an application for a license to operate an off-track betting facility adjacent the Greenmount Station restaurant in Hampstead in Carroll County.
When the OTB begins operating, most likely before the end of this year, it will be the fifth such facility opened by the Maryland Jockey Club over the past several years. The others are at Hollywood Casino Perryville, the Boonsboro Event Center, the Maryland State Fairgrounds at Timonium, and Horseshoe Casino Baltimore.
MJC also operates a betting parlor at the Riverboat on the Potomac, which is located on Maryland waters just off the coast of Virginia. The MRC Nov. 30 approved the transfer of the Potomac OTB license to the MJC in light of plans for the owner to sell the entertainment facility.
MJC also offers year-round full-card simulcasts at its three tracks in the state: Laurel Park, Pimlico Race Course and Rosecroft Raceway.
The Hampstead OTB parlor, in keeping with other facilities in the state, will be a partnership among MJC; the owner, in this case Greenmount Station; and the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association.
MJC President Sal Sinatra said he estimates the Hampstead facility to generate $4 million to $4.5 million a year in pari-mutuel handle, a range similar to those in Perryville and Boonsboro. Work has been ongoing in vacant space in a strip mall on MD-Route 30.
“It should be open by the end of the year,” Sinatra said. “We’re targeting the week (between Christmas and New Year’s Day), which should be a busy time at Greenmount Station. The restaurant is a full service sports bar, so we may get more play than usual on Sundays and Monday nights.”
The community of Hampstead enthusiastically welcomed the new venture at the Maryland Racing Commission hearing which was attended by the Mayor of Hampstead Chris Nevin, Carroll County Commissioner Richard Weaver and other elected officials in addition to MJC and MTHA representatives.
“The town of Hampstead very much looks forward to working with Maryland Jockey Club and Greenmount Station restaurant to attract new businesses to our town and help existing businesses grow and thrive,” remarked Mayor Nevin at the hearing.
The facility, strategically located about 7 miles from Westminster along the busy Route 30 corridor just north of Hampstead, looks to lure bettors from not only Carroll County but from nearby Hanover and York in Pennsylvania. These customers usually frequent the Penn National OTB facility located in York.
In a related matter, the MJC continues working with MGM National Harbor, which plans to place a race book on its second floor. The wagering area is expected to be ready by Memorial Day weekend, Sinatra said, but in the interim he is working with the casino to equip a ballroom so it can take bets in time for the Triple Crown series.
“They were happy with that (temporary) proposal,” he said. “The race book will have a state-of-the-art television wall. The design of the race book has to be approved by (corporate officials in Las Vegas).”
MGM National Harbor opened late last year and is a major contributor to the Purse Dedication Account.