In light of the public health emergency created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has issued an emergency order to close all Maryland casinos, racetracks, and simulcast betting facilities to the general public indefinitely.
“This situation continues to evolve and will escalate rapidly and dramatically,” Hogan said. “These are unprecedented actions in an extraordinary situation, but they could be the difference in saving lives and keeping people safe.”
The emergency order, which takes effect at midnight Monday, affects Thoroughbred facilities Laurel, Pimlico and Timonium and harness tracks Rosecroft Raceway and Ocean Downs. The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency will work with casinos to facilitate an orderly shutdown of operations and the order does not apply to hotels adjacent to casinos. You can read Governor Hogan's emergency order here.
According to a report in Daily Racing Form, operators at Laurel Park, which ran its full eight-race card Sunday, awaited clarification from the governor as to whether or not racing could continue.
“We are awaiting on clarification,” Alan Foreman, the general counsel for the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, told DRF. “We have been told that training activities can continue to take place, and we just don't know if this applies to racing or not. We don't race again until next weekend, so there's plenty of time for us to talk to the governor's people.”