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Supreme Court Ruling Could Have Consequences For Pimlico

May 16, 2018
Maybe it's a long shot, and maybe it's just "Preakness Fever" addling our brains, but some of us are wondering if this week's U.S. Supreme Court ruling on sports betting might turn out to be a late-hour death sentence reprieve for Pimlico Race Course.

As we head toward the 145th running of the Preakness Stakes on May 19, with an anticipated overflow crowd and its traditional carnival atmosphere and national TV coverage, all of these momentary positives may pale compared to the high court's ruling.

In a 6-to-3 vote, the court struck down a federal law that largely prohibited sports betting in the United States. That means individual states -- including Maryland -- can vote to legalize gambling on professional and college sports, such as baseball, football and basketball.

Let's not kid ourselves. Such betting is already an unofficial national pastime. Millions of Americans bet billions of dollars every year to follow their money while they're following their favorite teams.

But it's a pastime conducted with the cops looking the other way. Now, we could have people phoning in their bets to their local government operators -- or perhaps for a more party-like atmosphere, heading for a gathering place where they might watch multiple TV screens and catch any ballgame being played anywhere on the globe, and place their bets pitch-by-pitch or basket-by-basket.

And such a gathering place might be Pimlico Race Course, no?

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Maryland Jockey Club