Maryland Slots Up For Vote
Free State voters were given the right in allowing slot machine casinos a year from now by lawmakers, and with ballot opposition against the plan starting across the state line, some feel that Martin O'Malley's plan may do well.

"It's going to be a big, expensive fight," said lobbyist Robert Byrd, whose clients include Dover Downs. "But when you put an issue like slots on the ballot, the odds are 50-50 or less that voters pass it."

Ten states have went to the voters in expanding gaming, normally with adding some type of slots to already existing lotteries, with every issue failing.

"We're already at work in Maryland," Grey said. "We feel good because now [the gambling industry] is out in the open, and when we've got them in the open, we can win."

Delaware is concerned with Maryland being closer now than any other time, in authorizing slots, because of the affect it would have on the gaming industry.
In Delaware slots are a sizable amount of revenue in the state brining in $256.7 million in the last budget year. According to some reports by Tom Cook the Deputy Finance Secretary, such as one done in 2003 places the amount of funds at that time at about $85 million a year that they would stand to lose should Maryland open slots gambling and this figure could only have increased and this is one of the fear Delaware has should this pass with votes.
According to both Grey and Byrd giving voters the decision to make is not as easy as it sounds because they will meet opposition from such as veteran organizations who operate slots at their clubs as Maryland allows slots in private clubs. By putting slots to the vote risks revenue that these private clubs bring in yearly, this is expected to go to the voters by the second or third quarter of 2008.

- 2007-11-26


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