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Busch: People Can Make Up Own Minds On Slots

During the previous administration, House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) was repeatedly demonized or canonized -- depending on one's perspective -- for keeping slot machines out of Maryland. Former governor Robert L. Ehrlich (R) was among his harshest critics.

But with just a week to go before voters decide the issue, the Speaker has been remarkably quiet on it, as pro- and anti-slots forces trade blows over a plan backed by Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) that would authorize up to 15,000 machines.

"I'm going to vote against the referendum personally, but I believe everyone can make that decision," Busch said in an interview. "I think people can make up their own minds."

Busch supported the idea of putting the issue on the ballot during last year's special session. That, he said, was intended as a compromise on an issue that had long dominated debate in the General Assembly.

As a presiding officer in the legislature, Busch said he feels it will be his job to bring people on both sides of the debate back together after the Nov. 4 vote to tackle some very tough budget challenges -- regardless of whether slots passes or fails.

"When we finish this thing, I hope to be able to move on," Busch said.

Busch said there are some apsects to the plan on the ballot that make it better than previous legislation attempting to legalize slots. Any additional expansion of gambling, for example, will have to be put to the voters again.

"It's a very high hurdle to go back and expand it," Busch said.

Busch said that he has always thought the results of the referendum would be close but acknowledged broader economic concerns that seem to have given pro-slots forces a boost in recent polling.

"I very well might be in the minority, but I'll respect the majority will of the people of Maryland," Busch said.

By John Wagner  |  October 27, 2008; 12:42 PM ET
Categories:  John Wagner , Slots  
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Look at Australia, Canada and NZ...all are now trying to BAN slots..when we realised how much we had been mislead and conned. DO not believe the only get told the 'good bits'! The 'only 2%' of problem gamblers means 'pathalogical' gamblers. You are being given the wrong figures! to persuade you unfairly. Your government must not be allowed to be so lazy!

The REAL damage to families, retailers and kids in school comes from the 'recreational but OVER-SPENDING' gamblers...and they are left unmentioned!They over-spend and harm others around them. Your shops will fail including restaurants, hairdressers, shoe shops...ALL of which would employ more people than casinos! Just 1 extra person is employed in a casino for every new $1 million turnover....that is a huge loss to your communities for very little gain! Your taxes will not rise for LACK of slots...that is a furphy! They will rise BECAUSE of them in the end! Costs outweigh advantages!

Harms are HUGE from indirect costs and your kids will have increased school-room trouble from upset, anxious, over-tired children of over-spending gambling parents! Your teachers will have increased problems with class disruptions and bullying. You WILL have increased crime and theft and the only winner in the end will be the gambling industry...NOT the taxpayers!

The modern gambling machines are downright cars with no brakes they are so addictive....and you will never hear of the suicides who weekly are dragged out of casino toilets. The embarrassed government will hide the true theft rate by settling out of court...when government employees steal YOUR money! PLEASE do not think for one minute that slots being legalised will bring more money to Maryland. After experiencing slots...around 85% of our citizens surveyed by local governments said NO they wanted slots BANNED! Why would we say that? If slots had lived up to the promises?? PLEASE say NO?? PLEASE do not make the "Australian Mistake"?

Posted by: Banpokies11 | October 27, 2008 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Then why give us your input. Keep it to yourself and let people do just that. There's nothing wrong with slot's. West Virginia has really bulit up there State because of the slots. Roads and bridges are not being bulit like it should here in MD. Schools are not like they should be. Charging poor or almost poor $2.25 a day for a sorry lunch. Everytime I turn around the school begging for money for this and that. Just what do you give the schools to work with? If the slots would help the schools put them in. Those who dont like it too bad. Just turn your head the other way. Bring Slots.

Posted by: jjambillbob | October 27, 2008 10:31 PM | Report abuse

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