Rosecroft has been racing live for two weeks and is currently in a battle for its survival. Despite voters in Prince George county voting for casino gambling in the last referendum, the county legislature is looking to ban Prince George County from offering casino gambling, which would likely make Rosecroft's revival last no more than two years.
Obviously, Rosecroft Raceway, via Penn National Gaming, has launched a campaign to kill county bill 49 which if approved, would zone the county to prohibit the installation of any slot machines; making any state referendum allowing a casino in Prince George County an exercise in futility. Penn National Gaming has launched a website in favor of slots at Rosecroft.
Let's be honest, slots or alternate gaming of some kind is essential for the long term survival of Rosecroft Raceway. Unless Penn National Gaming is willing to move the track to a more hospitable county, the banning of slots will likely end racing at Rosecroft after next year; after all PNG is a publicly-traded company and must answer to their shareholders and operating a money losing operation is not going to make many people who one PNG stock happy.
But this is more than a racetrack survival bill. The county's attempt to ban slot machines is a moral issue more than anything else; an issue which should not be decided by the politicians directly. If you really want to consider banning slots, the issue should go to a public referendum where the people of Prince George County can be heard and make the decision; not politicians with special interests and lobbyists' money.
Let me tell you a story about where I live. I live in what I call a subrural community; a little bit suburban and a lot rural; the majority of the township is county and state parks. You want to do major shopping, you need to travel 10+ miles to get to a store. It is not uncommon to see coyote, deer, bears, wild turkey and other animals where I live. A developer wanted to come in and build a mega shopping center in the community. Despite the community's protests, the council decided to change the zoning to allow for this development. The township's people were still outraged as the development will change the character of the town, and being it is an election year, the politicians decided to revert the zoning back to what it was and have a non-binding referendum to see what the township's people actually feel about the development in an effort to change their jogs. Unfortunately, a day before they could revert the zoning, the developer submitted his plan which technically means it can not be stopped because as long as the application is ruled complete and the planning board approves the development as it is the zoning in effect when the application is submitted which matters. While the referendum will take place, it may be a moot point at best and at worst, it may cost the town a lot of money in legal fees to beat this developer. Needless to say, there is an expectation that many of these politicians will pay for their ignoring the community this election day.
Why is there a rush to ban casinos when there is a state referendum required? If the politicians of Prince George County feel casinos will change their community's identity, wouldn't it be better to let the county's residents make the decision instead of a few politicians? After, all maybe the community as a whole would not have a problem with a casino; maybe they would welcome the jobs such a development would bring. The fact is if the county officials feel so strongly about not having a casino, have faith in the people and let the people decide to confirm or repudiate their feelings. After all, isn't it the American way?