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Franchot Won't "Stand Idly By" On Slots

Opponents of slot-machine gambling gathered in Annapolis this morning to start preparing for a tough fight ahead and were rallied by Comptroller Peter Franchot (D).

Franchot told about two dozen members of the StopSlots coalition that this is one issue on which he disagrees with Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), who supports legalizing slots at horse-racing tracks.

"I consider Governor O'Malley a friend and an ally, but on this important issue ... we don't see eye to eye," Franchot told the group, which included several senior citizens and clergy gathered in a church meeting room. "I am not going to sit idly by while the national gambling industry seeks to get their hooks in our state and take us down the wrong path."

Slots were a failed priority during the administration of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R). The issue is re-emerging as O'Malley and lawmakers grapple with a looming budget shortfall of nearly $1.5 billion. A bill sponsored last legislative session by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) would have raised about $800 million a year for the state, according to legislative analysts.

By John Wagner  |  May 24, 2007; 11:08 AM ET
Categories:  John Wagner  
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