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Anti-Slots Strategists Swear Off Gambling Money

Anti-slots strategists sought today to put to rest talk that they may turn to out-of-state gambling interests to help fund their campaign to defeat slots in Maryland.

In a conference call with reporters, Aaron Meisner, chairman of StopSlotsMaryland, said the notion has "no basis in reality." Both Meisner and and Scott Arceneaux, a representative of Marylanders United To Stop Slots, another group working to defeat the November referendum, pledged during the call not to take any gambling money.

In interviews this spring, Meisner left the door open to the possibility, saying he could not speak for his grass-roots coalition. Since then, pro-slots forces have needled their opponents on the issue, suggesting as recently as this month that they were planning to take gambling money.

"We've always been grassroots and funded by the people of Maryland," Meisner said today.

The issue has received renewed attention in the past week with the announcement by Penn National Gaming, an Pennsvylvania-based company, that it is interested in operating one of the five Maryland sites that would be authorized. The company has suggested it might provide financial support to the pro-slots side, being led by a group called For Maryland For Our Future.

Voters will be asked in November to allow slots at up to 15,000 machines at locations in Allegany, Anne Arundel, Cecil and Worcester counties and Baltimore.

By John Wagner  |  July 14, 2008; 11:42 AM ET
Categories:  John Wagner , Slots  
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