Penn National Gaming

A savior for state’s racing industry?

By Liz Farmer
Daily Record Business Writer

Penn National Gaming’s new stake in the Maryland racing scene could be a saving grace for the sport that’s been on the decline in this state for the last decade — but the deal’s impact will depend on whether the company can bring slots to Laurel Park.

 “They’re a very financially stable company and they have a history in racing,” said Maryland Jockey Club President Tom Chuckas. “I think the future for racing looks better than it has in a long, long time.”

After more than a year of operating in bankruptcy, Magna Entertainment Corp. transferred the jockey club (which operates Laurel and Pimlico Race Course) to Ontario-based MI Developments Inc., its parent company. On Friday, MID announced a deal in which Penn National, known in the industry as one of the pioneers of race track casinos, would acquire an interest in the jockey club.

Penn National Gaming could run Laurel slots

By Liz Farmer
Daily Record Business Writer

If slots were to come to Laurel Park, prospective owner MI Developments Inc. would like to have Penn National Gaming operate the casino.

WILMINGTON, Del. — Testimony during Thursday’s hearing to confirm Magna Entertainment Corp.’s reorganization plan for Maryland’s race tracks revealed more details on the company’s initial efforts to sell its assets and what could be in store for Laurel Park.

If Magna’s plan to transfer assets to parent MI Developments Inc. is approved, the future could include Penn National Gaming operating slots at Laurel Park — if the track succeeds in obtaining a gaming license.

“MI Developments has plans to have Penn National step in for the Maryland Jockey Club,” said Marc D. Puntis, managing director of investment banking firm Miller Buckfire & Co., which manages Magna assets.

The jockey club operates Laurel Park, Pimlico Race Course and Bowie Training Center and is owned by Magna. MID is slated to take on a large percentage of Magna’s portfolio, including the Maryland properties, Golden Gate Fields and Santa Anita Park in California and Gulfstream Park in Florida.

William B. Bayne, testifying on behalf of equity shareholders objecting to Magna’s plan, said that in his conversations with MID Chairman Frank Stronach, Penn National would be a majority interest holder in gaming.