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Slots for MoCo?

Gov. Martin O'Malley's labor secretary and a Montgomery legislator traded barbs yesterday afternoon on NewsChannel 8 over the legalization of slot machines in a preview of the General Assembly's upcoming debate.

Labor Secretary Tom Perez defended his recent report that found that the state is "leaving hundreds of millions of dollars on the table" when Maryland residents travel to West Virginia and Delaware to gamble. Money, he said, that could be used to pay for schools and health care.

Montgomery Del. Luiz Simmons, a critic of slots, questioned the credibility of Perez's findings, which he said ignored the social ills associated with gambling. He then challenged Perez, a former Montgomery County Council member, to commit to locating the machines in the county, where legislators and many residents have historically opposed efforts to legalize slots.

Simmons asked Perez if he was prepared to commit to putting slots parlors in Rockville, Potomac and Silver Spring. "If it's okay for Laurel and as benign as you suggest it is, why don't you let everyone know right now that you are prepared to put them and the governor is prepared to put them in Montgomery County."

Perez gracefully declined to answer. "As you know Del. Simmons, being a member of the legislature, the Assembly is going to decide whether to have slots and where to have slots."

"I think that's a decision that's going to be made in conjunction with the Legislature and they will take community input into account," Perez said.

By Ann Marimow  |  September 21, 2007; 5:40 AM ET
Categories:  Ann Marimow  
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And may I suggest that, in the interest of real intellectual honesty, that they propose to place slot machines in the county-operated liquor stores?

Posted by: gitarre | September 21, 2007 7:44 AM | Report abuse

in my opinion the entire debate on whether or not slots should be allowed in Maryland is ridiculous. I am a supporter of slots. it is not because I am an avid gambler because I am not. I dont believe that people like Mr. Busch should be able to decide whether or not they should ber legalized. It is very apparent that if people want to gamble "their money" then they will find a way to do that. It is also apparent that they are doing so in other states. I hate to say that it seems painfully obvious that Mr. Busch seems to be against slots because he is not going to personally profit from them and that he does not have as much control over them as he would want to have. Maryland has scratch tickets, Mega-millions, and Bingo. Gambling is gambling so lets stop playing name games.

Posted by: Michelle Kemp | September 21, 2007 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, this has been around...and around...and around...before. Quite a few times as I recall. Unffortunately as good an idea as this is you'll also get church groups and whatnot against the legalized slots in Maryland so that they can protect people from themselves. In the current political clime that means something.

If people can buy lotto tickets, why not allow slots??? It's their money to do with what they please.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 21, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

All anyone has to do is drive to Delaware,West Va and now Pennslyvania and count the number of Maryland licence plates in the parking lot to measure how much money leaves the state on any given day.

Posted by: Jarrett M Wise | September 21, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Montgomery County is going to get slots because County Executive Leggett has dropped his opposition to them as a trade off for getting income and sales tax increases for Montgomery
County residents. The income tax increase may be more than he thought we would get but he let the genie out of the bottle by asking for them in the first place. Thanks for nothing Ike.

Posted by: Robin Ficker of Robin Realty | September 21, 2007 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Don't know if slots will make it or not, but I think MoCo will defintely pass on them. Slots are usually a choice of economically challenged states. MoCo does not need them...MD really does not need the boost either, but I think the influence has already been peddled to both Dems and GOP, so it may be unstoppable...I give slots on chance in three, but it will be limited to race tracks. Time will tell.

Posted by: Donny | September 21, 2007 10:33 PM | Report abuse

1) I can't express how disappointed I am in Tom Perez. I had supported his candidacy for Attorney General, but this new stance on slots only exposes the fact that there is no "there there." He obviously has no concern about the people he claimed to represent on the campaign trail.

2) There is not one iota of evidence that all those Maryland license plates you see in West Virginia and elsewhere will stop going to out-of-state gambling venues. People will probably continue driving out to those locations rather than driving into Prince George's County where their car could be stolen or they could be robbed or murdered. Heck, I would drive to Martinsburg long before I'd go to Rosecroft.

Posted by: Fickered-Out | September 21, 2007 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Tom Perez is certainly the winner in the "How Fast Can You Sell Out Derby." He is running around telling us how the governor is protecting people from Predatory Lending practice, but then in the next breath he is calling for the state itself to be the predator. It's disgusting. They should revoke his MoCo citizenship and deport him to West Virginia.

But the best part about doing slots in a special session as O'Malley advocates is that there is no campaign finance filing required before the session, and no requirement that legislators stop fundraising DURING the session. So Magna and Penn National Gaming can be spreading cash in Annapolis AS THE VOTES ARE BEING CAST. If you're not concerned, your not paying attention!

Posted by: Bankrupt O'Morally | September 22, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

O'Malley is about as corrupt as they come. O'Malley has ZERO credibility when it comes to crime issues associated with gambling. How can a guy that has gone through 8 police commissioners, presided over one of the highest homicide rates in the country, ever be in a position to talk about the impact of gambling on local neighborhoods. I think the facilities should be located in Annapolis; it's most appropriate considering the big wads of cash that lobbyists are tossing around.

Posted by: dft | September 25, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Value of Slot Machine Licenses

Imagine the State of Maryland (us taxpayers) owning a piece of property downtown Baltimore that is valued somewhere between 500 million to a billion dollars, and next to the property is an old shop that makes wagon wheels. The wagon wheel maker decides he needs that
property next to his shop, to survive. He hires a lobbyist to go to Annapolis with a few campaign dollars and makes an offer to buy the valuable property for 50 thousand dollars. Many legislators, appreciating the contributions agree to sell.
A few legislators (led by Michael) think it is morally wrong to transfer such economic wealth to a few select individuals for peanuts. They are criticized and told to get off their moral
"high horse".

Their only argument is that if the State of Maryland decides to sell the valuable property, the taxpayers should receive the fair value.

(PS: A National list of "valuable properties" obtained for a few
Campaign dollars and ubsequently "flipped" for hundreds and hundreds of million dollars is available upon request)

Posted by: Frank | September 28, 2007 8:41 AM | Report abuse

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