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Poll: Prince George county wants VLTs

1 November 2007

T. WASHINGTON, Maryland -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- With the Maryland Legislature beginning to debate legislation that would authorize up to 15,000 video lottery terminals (VLTs) in the state, one thing is certain – Prince George's County residents want to be dealt in.

According to the results of a public opinion poll released today, 55 percent of Prince George's County residents support allowing VLTs at Rosecroft Raceway, to 34 percent against. When residents in the most affected areas (zip codes: 20744, 20745 and 2078) are asked the question, the level of support grows to 61 percent in favor and only 33 percent against.

The results of the survey also reveal that 90 percent of Prince George's County residents believe they should have the right to decide whether or not to allow VLTs at Rosecroft. In District 26 neighborhoods, that number grows to 92 percent.

When asked how Prince George's County residents would vote on a ballot measure allowing VLTs at Rosecroft, 57 percent responded "yes," to 36 percent "no." In the District 26 neighborhoods, 62 percent said "yes," to 33 percent "no."

The findings were part of a countywide survey of 500 adults conducted between October 25-28, 2007 by Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates, Inc., an Alexandria, Va.-based national polling firm. The poll, commissioned by Penn National Gaming, the new owner of Rosecroft Raceway, had a +/- 4.4% percent margin of error, and the over-sample of District 26 neighborhoods (200 adults) had a +/- 6.9% percent margin of error.

The survey follows the introduction of Governor Martin O'Malley's "Maryland Education Trust Fund – Video Lottery Terminals" legislation, which excludes Prince George's County from consideration as a video lottery facility location.

Commenting on the results of the poll, Eric Schippers, Vice President of Public Affairs and Government Relations for Penn National Gaming, said: "Given the tremendous amount of local support for VLTs in Prince George's, we hope the Legislature will allow the County a chance to participate in the significant benefits a VLT facility would generate, including hundreds of millions of dollars in economic development, thousands of new good paying jobs with benefits, and new revenues for education and other important county programs and services. Prince George's County residents clearly recognize that they can't afford to get left out of this important legislation that will help to shape the State's and County's future."

Schippers continued: "We have experienced firsthand how revenues from VLTs can help revitalize racing. Penn National purchased the historic Charles Town Races and Slots in Charles Town, West Virginia, when it was on the verge of closing its doors. Today, it is the largest employer in its county, real estate values have gone up, and crime has gone down (as noted in Labor Secretary Thomas Perez's report). Having invested over $300 million in the facility, Charles Town Races serves as an economic engine for the entire region and state. We wish this same level of success for Rosecroft Raceway in Prince George's County.

"Prior fiscal notes on pending VLT legislation in Maryland, and industry data, have consistently shown that Rosecroft would be the highest revenue producing location in the State," said Schippers. "On behalf of our more than 375 employees at Rosecroft, the thousands of local horsemen who will benefit from a revitalized racetrack and a resurgence of racing, as well as all those who support VLTs in Prince George's, we respectfully ask the Maryland Legislature to include Rosecroft in this bill."

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