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Sierra Club Rejects Slots

The Maryland chapter of the Sierra Club has voiced its opposition to the state's November referendum on slot-machine gambling, which would authorize up to 15,000 machines at five locations.

In a statement, the group said its greatest concern is a potential site in Rocky Gap State Park in Allegany County, calling the prospect "outrageous."

The 3,000-acre park "is a wonderful natural resource for all Marylanders and should not be developed into a casino location under any circumstances," the Sierra Club said. A lodge adjacent to the park has been struggling financially for years.

The group also objected to other sites being located in rural areas, saying it that was not consistent with the state's Smart Growth policies. The other four sites voters will be asked to authorize are in Baltimore and Anne Arundel, Cecil and Worcester counties.

Some slots supporters have argued that expanded gambling could actually preserve more open space by propping up the horse racing industry, thus keeping horse farms afloat and out of the hands of developers

The slots effort has won the backing of several interests groups, including teachers, county officials and labor unions.

By Phyllis Jordan  |  July 10, 2008; 7:39 AM ET
Categories:  John Wagner , Slots  
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Rocky Gap was nicer before the lodge. What a waste of money.

Posted by: Before the lodge | July 10, 2008 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Slots are a bad idea for Maryland. They haven't solved any problems in the states where they are permitted, and the social costs are huge.

It's embarrassing that the Legislature and the Governor won't honestly discuss and propose a realistic economic and budget proposal.

Much of this is because O'Malley wants to run for PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

First things first, Martin. Manage Maryland.

Posted by: Montgomery Man | July 11, 2008 5:39 AM | Report abuse

I understand and support the racing industry's need for slots to remain competitive with other tracks. I also understand other parties look for profit from slots. But slots in state parks and rural areas is unacceptable. The racing industry and the state will never win my approval to further degrade Rochy Gap.

Posted by: Horse lover | July 12, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

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