01/28/2011 5:56PM

Penn National Gaming buys Rosecroft at bankruptcy auction

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Penn National Gaming Inc., the casino company that has been on a buying spree as of late, won an auction on Friday to purchase Rosecroft Raceway, a harness track in Maryland, with a bid of $10.25 million.

Penn National outbid Peter Angelos, the owner of the Baltimore Orioles, and one other unidentified bidder in the auction to dispose of the track because of its bankruptcy. The company will pay for Rosecroft in cash. The bankruptcy court will need to approve the deal.

In addition to casinos and racetracks in jurisdictions around the country, Penn National owns a half stake in the Maryland Jockey Club, the owner and operator of Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park. The company also owns a casino in Perryville, Maryland.
Eric Schippers, a spokesperson for Penn National, said in a statement on Friday that the company will “look forward to working with the Standardbred horse owners and the Maryland State Racing Commission to develop a plan to resume live racing at Rosecroft this year.” He added that the company’s “long-range plan, as it remains for Laurel Park, will be to seek slot machines at Rosecroft.”

Voters in Maryland passed a constitutional amendment in 2008 allowing the state to award a single casino license in five designated counties; Rosecroft is not located in one of the designated counties. The measure also limited companies to one casino license in the state, but Penn National has been lobbying aggressively for changes to the law. Some of those changes may require constitutional amendments and ballot measures.

“We’re hoping the legislature might consider allowing the issue of slots at Rosecroft to go to the ballot as it is considering other changes to the Maryland gaming law,” Schippers said.