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Informal Survey in MoCo Shows Anti-Slots Sentiment

Montgomery's legislators have long been some of the loudest voices opposed to the expansion of slot machine gambling, so it was not surprising when a recent sampling found many local residents who share their views.

In a rather unscientific straw ballot conducted by the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee, more than half of participants said they oppose the slots measure backed by Gov. Martin O'Malley (D). Voters will be asked in the November election whether to allow up to 15,000 slot machines at five locations throughout the state.

The central committee surveyed led about 600 people who stopped by its tent at the Montgomery County Fair this month. The results: 37 percent in favor; 56 percent opposed and 7 percent undecided, according to Milton J. Minneman, a spokesman for the committee.

Straw pollsters did not check whether participants were registered voters or county residents, so the results are not a reliable indicator of local sentiment.

"The vote may or may not have reflected the views of Montgomery County Democrats," Minneman said in announcing the results. "Of interest was the low vote for 'had not made up their mind yet,' which was even lower as the week progressed."

A recent statewide poll conducted for slots proponents told a different story: 63 percent of likely voters said they favor the slots measure, and 34 percent were opposed. The poll, conducted in May by Garin Hart Yang Research Group, found nearly identical support for slots in the Washington and Baltimore media markets.

An independent poll released in January found less support for slots, with 54 percent of regular voters backing the proposal and 38 percent against legalizing the machines.
Next month, Montgomery's central committee will decide whether to take a position on the measure and on other ballot questions voters will face in November.

By Anne Bartlett  |  August 26, 2008; 11:32 AM ET
Categories:  Ann Marimow , Slots  
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People need to realize that if this slots proposal doesn't pass, they're setting the ball for a new round of tax hikes in January.

Posted by: Liz | August 26, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

No, people need to know that slots is second or third best solution to MD's fiscal problems. There needs to be a broad based sales tax (which could lower overall sales taxes), a gasoline tax to fund transit and road improvements (this tax hasn't been adjusted in almost a decade, while needs have increased dramatically, an alcohol tax (which hasn't been raised due to the self interest of some MD legislative leaders), and a progressive income tax. Maryland's Governor and many State Legislators are unwilling and/or afraid to have a sustainable budget solution discussed publicly.

If we need to cut spending, we should cut spending. If we need to adjust taxes to pay for key services, we need to do that.

But what we don't need to do is to bet Maryland's fiscal future on the uncertain revenues of the gaming industry, with all of the attendant social costs of increased crime, health costs, and importantly the impact on the poor and elderly.

Where's the revenue from the lottery for education?

Where's the revenue from the transportation trust fund?

It's a bad idea. I hope that the referendum is defeated and that the Legislature stands up and balances the budget in a sustainable way.

Want to see the results of gaming on state finances? Look at New Jersey. It's not a pretty picture.

Posted by: One Who Knows... | August 26, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to Atlantic City, MD!

Posted by: Donny | August 26, 2008 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to Atlantic City, MD!

Posted by: Donny | August 26, 2008 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to Atlantic City, MD!

Posted by: Donny | August 26, 2008 8:43 PM | Report abuse

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