Maryland’s Court of Appeals decided on July 20th, 2009 that an issue over Laurel’s Park disqualified bid to open a slot machine facility should be resolved by a state contracting board before being discussed in court. Laurel Park filed a case against the state commission tasked with giving out the slot machine licenses at five locations all over Maryland after state voters passed a constitutional amendment to permit that kind of gaming.
The commission had cancelled a bid to place slot machines at Laurel Park because the horse-racing track’s owner, Magna Entertainment Corporation, failed to submit a total of $28.5 million dollars in required licensing costs. The decision of the court forces Laurel Park officials to wait until the state commission awards the slots licenses before the horse racing track owners can pursue another legal option to what they believe as an incorrect process.
The court found out that the state Board of Contract Appeals has power in the issue and that only a final decision from the commission could be questioned in court. The commission, which is studying slots parlor applications in Baltimore, Anne Arundel County, on the Eastern Shore and in Cecil County, is expected to give out the slots licenses this fall.
The Maryland Jockey Club, the Magna Entertainment subsidiary that manages the Laurel racing track, said that the club remains hopeful that Maryland officials will clarify uncertainties in the laws governing the slots licensing process. Magna Entertainment, which has filed for bankruptcy, said that it appeared the licensing costs were not refundable and therefore shows an illegal seizure by the state.