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Penn National outbids Angelos, buys Rosecroft for $10.25M

Penn National Gaming bought bankrupt Rosecroft Raceway in Prince George’s County for $10.25 million in cash Friday.

Penn National outbid two other potential buyers, including Peter G. Angelos, who had originally agreed to buy the track for $9 million in cash, plus $5 million if a referendum to expand gambling was approved and slots were operational at the facility by December 2012.

Penn National said in a statement Friday that it will seek slot machines for Rosecroft, while creating a plan to resume live racing this fall.

“We’re hoping the legislature might consider allowing the issue of slots at Rosecroft to go to the ballot as it is considering other changes to the Maryland gaming law,” D. Eric Schippers, a spokesman for Penn National, said in a statement.

Penn National will also pay $3 million if the General Assembly approves a bond that would help the company finance the track’s operations, said attorney Michael J. Lichtenstein, the Potomac attorney representing the bankruptcy trustee in the case.

Lichtenstein declined to disclose the third bidder.

The auction was held at Lichtenstein’s offices, and took three hours after five rounds of bidding, Lichtenstein said.

“From the trustee’s perspective, I think he’s a happy guy,” Lichtenstein said. “You obviously always want more money, but this will hopefully be more employment and good for the racing industry.”

Penn National’s contract is scheduled for approval by Federal Bankruptcy Judge Paul Mannes Feb. 2.

“We look forward to working with the new owner of Rosecroft on preserving over 200 jobs at the facility, returning live racing back to the track, and supporting an industry that helps preserve open space,” Gov. Martin O’Malley said in a statement. “It is our hope that new ownership will bring relief to members of the community who share concerns about the vacant facility and its impact on surrounding neighborhoods.”

New bids were required to be at least $550,000 higher than Angelos’ original $9 million, and the bidding was to go up in increments of $200,000.

Rosecroft filed for bankruptcy in June 2009, and the track closed a year later.