House approves details on implementing slot machine gambling

The House managed the 71 votes needed to pass the measure. Forty-four delegates voted against the bill, 15 did not vote and 11 were absent for the vote that occurred after 1 a.m. House Speaker Michael Busch, who has been a wary critic of politically divisive Link Slot Deposit Pulsa Tanpa Potongan machine legislation considered in recent years, said voters will now get a year to consider where the machines would be placed and how the industry would be regulated.

“They’ll get a year to scrutinize it, and in November of 2008 you’ll have the purest form of democracy, which is a direct vote by eligible voters, the citizens of the state. I think it’s the appropriate way,” Busch, D-Anne Arundel, said.

The bill, which defines how 15,000 machines would be distributed in five locations, complements another measure the House barely managed to pass Friday night to hold a referendum on whether to legalize slot machines. The House vote on Friday was 86-52, just one vote above the 85 needed for a three-fifths majority, to put the politically difficult issue on the ballot for voters to decide in the form of a constitutional amendment.

The Senate already has approved two roughly similar bills. House and Senate negotiators were scheduled to either work out some differences between bills or concur with versions already passed on the slots measures, budget cuts and a $1.4 billion tax package Sunday afternoon and evening.

Republicans criticized the slots proposal, saying it was badly flawed in …

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Are slots in Maryland the wave of the future?

Maryland Casinos Still Going Strong -

Three decades ago, Venetoulis was Baltimore County executive but had bigger political plans. As everybody knows, the state’s in pretty bad financial shape now. But these things run in cycles. Back then, Venetoulis looked at Ocean City and saw the promised land —  a place to host gambling (for a while) and help balance the state’s financial books.

“And I got killed for it when I brought it up,” Venetoulis said the other night. He laughed ruefully at the memory. These days, he publishes Corridor Inc., a business and political monthly magazine focusing on the Baltimore-Washington corridor. But, back then, he was readying for a run for governor and pondering gambling, and then quickly dropped it.

But the plan sounds pretty interesting today: Slot machines in Ocean City, but only during the off-season. And slots for Western Maryland, where the economy has struggled for a long time.

“You’ve got all those Ocean City hotel owners with empty rooms from Labor Day until the following spring,” said Venetoulis. “I’m not talking about slots during the peak season. They don’t need any help then. But, in the off-season, it’d be a perfect place.”

But, 30 years ago, the idea was quickly tossed aside when the deep thinkers in Ocean City howled their opposition. Across the years, even as Atlantic City brought in casino gambling — and all its attendant money, and all its attendant problems — Ocean City’s leaders have turned thumbs down on any form of gambling there.

“We’re a family …

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Electronic gambling device ban could affect jobs, boost slots

The ban, expected to affected 1,000 machines in bingo parlors and bars across the state, awaits the governor’s signature. The gambling devices are similar to slots with spinning sevens and cherries but legal under a legislative loophole.

Supporters of the ban, including House Speaker Michael Busch and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, said the games compete with the state lottery and legitimate slot machines that could be legalized in a November referendum.

“The fact of the matter is, you lose revenue by not voting on this for the state of Maryland,” Busch said.

Gov. Martin O’Malley said he has not yet read the bill and needs to study it. The governor, a slots supporter, noted the proposal “wasn’t an administration priority.” He has until the end of May to sign the bill or veto it.

Opponents of the ban, including most lawmakers from Anne Arundel County, say the machines are tightly regulated. Anne Arundel is home to about 200 devices in three commercial bingo halls.

If signed by O’Malley, the county stands to lose about $1.6 million in annual taxes and fees, and some parlor employees could lose their jobs.

Larry Weinstein, president of Odenton-based Atlantic Bingo Supply — which provides the machines to the county’s bingo parlors in Maryland City, Brooklyn Park and Wayson’s Corner — said he hopes lawmakers reverse their decision in the next legislative session.

“Today, I’m OK,” Weinstein said. “We’ll see what the legislative appetite is for three places that do it right.”

The …

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O’Malley, Franchot spar on slots — again

Peter Franchot - Wikipedia

(Map, News)

Maryland’s top slots supporter, Gov. Martin O’Malley, berated Comptroller Peter Franchot on Wednesday for his vocal opposition to legalized gambling machines, chiding his Democratic foe for “throwing stones in a hypocritical way.”

O’Malley’s remarks came hours before Franchot attended the start of an anti-slots organization.

“The comptroller has had the wonderful luxury of sitting back and doing nothing to help us restore fiscal responsibility while throwing stones in a hypocritical way at the one piece of this, the 25 percent that is slots — a measure that he once himself voted for,” O’Malley said. “But he’s not at all ever troubled by his inherent contradictions, and he never saw two sides of an issue that he couldn’t be simultaneously in favor of.”

Franchot is on the steering committee of Marylanders United to Stop Slots, a nonprofit coalition that kicked off a grassroots campaign Wednesday to defeat a November referendum on legalizing 15,000 slot machines at five locations in Baltimore and Allegany, Anne Arundel, Cecil and Worcester counties.


A former Montgomery County state delegate, Franchot supported a constitutional amendment in 2001 to fund public education through slot machines, with a provision that would prohibit an expansion into casinos.

Wednesday, he called O’Malley’s remarks unfortunate.

“I don’t think there has been a more consistent opponent to slots in the last seven years than myself,” he said.

The governor said slot machines are essential to balancing the state’s budget, potentially generating $800 million in annual tax revenue.

He …

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