The Washington Times - August 6, 2008, 04:48PM

One of the most vexing issues for Maryland leaders surrounding the slots debate is how to share the wealth. How much money should go to the slots owners and how much to the state?

Equally, one of the strongest rallying cries for slots supporters has been that slots proceeds would save horse racing in Maryland.

A Maryland think tank took on both those issues Wednesday with a new report claiming that of the $100 million that slots are expected to generate in horse-racing subsidies, $58 million would go to horses that were bred out of state but race in Maryland.

Click here to see the report (click on the link at the top right of the page — it’s a pdf.)

The Maryland Tax Education Foundation asserts the $100 million is essentially a giveaway to out-of-state interests. Slots supporters say the subsidy is needed to keep horse racing alive in Maryland and would bring horse breeders back to Maryland.

What do you think?

As a side note, Maryland’s slots referendum would place 15,000 machines throughout the state. Those machines are expected to bring in $1.35 billion, of which somewhere between $600 million and $700 million would come to the state, $100 million would be used to fatten purses at the racetracks, and most of the rest would go to the slots owners.

A more important side note: These numbers are estimates by legislative analysts and are neither hard nor fast, as evidenced by the ever-fluctuating estimate of how much money the state would receive.

— Tom LoBianco, Maryland politics reporter, The Washington Times