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Maryland’s Off-Track Betting Parlors Struggling

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URBANA, Md. (AP) — Maryland’s four off-track betting facilities are struggling along with the state’s declining horse-racing industry.

Racetracks are hoping a bailout and slots will revive the industry, but the OTB facilities are worried about closing their doors.

Wagering at all four OTB facilities made up about 14 percent of $303 million in statewide bets on thoroughbred and harness races two years ago. Maryland Racing Commission figures show OTB wagering has fallen from more than $80 million in 1995 to $41.4 million in 2009.

OTBs were meant to boost the racing industry by bringing racing to people who lived far from the state’s four major thoroughbred and harness tracks. But they have been hurt by the growing popularity of slots, casinos with table games in neighboring states and online betting.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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