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Pro-Slots Pollster: Measure is Favored By Voters

In a memo written last week, a pollster for Maryland's leading pro-slots group says the "slots referendum is poised for a solid victory" on Nov. 4.

The memo, prepared for For Maryland For Our Future by Frederick S. Yang, says he recently found that 58 percent of voters would support the referendum proposal while 38 percent would vote against it -- the same result as in late August.

Yang says that the intensity of support has picked up in the Baltimore area, where a pro-slots television ad has been airing. He notes that a "significant proportion" of support remains "soft," however, meaning people could still change their minds.

"The survey data make clear that we have strong and convincing arguments for legalizing slots, and that communicating these messages to Maryland voters can solidify our soft vote and yield a solid majority on Election Day," wrote Yang, who also does polling for Gov. Martin O'Malley (D).

Yang said the slots referendum is supported by 60 percent of those inclinded to vote for Barack Obama (D) for president and 56 percent of those inclined to vote for John McCain (R).

Yang wrote that his memo was based on polling of 601 statewide voters between Oct. 6 and Oct. 8 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.

By John Wagner  |  October 20, 2008; 1:51 PM ET
Categories:  John Wagner , Slots  
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At the end of the day, too many Marylanders view slot machines as nothing more than another tax on people with the money to afford it.

The unintended consequences that it will bring will surprise them as much as every other thing they do (we raised taxes this year and revenues fell, like always, surprise surprise surprise).

Posted by: Rufus | October 20, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

I think playing slots is a big waste of valuable time. But voters in Montgomery County are more concerned about property taxes than slots. We Got a 14% increase this year and are facing an even bigger increase next year. So Vote FOR Question B to Save Ou Homes!

Posted by: Robin Ficker Broker Robin Realty | October 20, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Think you got that backwards Rufus, This Marylander views slots as a tax on people who cannot afford it. It's poor people that tend to but lottery tickets. Hence my problem with slots, that the state shouldn't be passing legislation (a change to the constitution, God forbid) that hurts people.

Hey, I have nothing against gambling, that's what Las Vegas is for; but the State encouraging people to gamble is reprehensible.


PS But what the hey, I benefit so...?

Posted by: jhtlag... | October 20, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

interesting statement JT

"but the State encouraging people to gamble is reprehensible."

Fact of the matter is.. MD and by MD, I mean.. all Marylanders.. have in fact benefited from Gambling for 35 years... to the tune of over 500 million per year...

This is not a tax... but is a completely voluntary form of revenue generation...

Play or don't Play...The CHOICE IS YOURS. it is not a select few officials reaching into your pockets taking dollars to pay for their cost of living increases...

That is what this referendum is about.. CHOICE... For each and every citizen to weigh in and cast a vote. Self Determination... to finally decide on an issue that your elected representatives were incapable of deciding for you...

And even if it passes... It does not require that YOU CONTRIBUTE...OR GAMBLE in any way shape or form... ITS VOLUNTARY!!!!

Posted by: talontbo | October 20, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I understand it's voluntary, it's a stupidity tax: if you're stupid, you pay it.

The point is that gambling hurts people. It is well documented that poor people tend to gamble a greater percentage of their paycheck with the resultant ills.

Now, I believe in choice, that is why Las Vegas exists. If you want to blow your money, go for it. However, it is different for the state to promote gambling. "You can't win, if you don't play" leaves out the important fact that you can't lose, and lose big if you don't play. that is, they're lying. A casino saying this, caveat emptor. Your state government saying this, the people you presume are there to protect you? I repeat: reprehensible.

And don't think they don't know that. That's presumably why they don't allow private enterprise to set up casinos. Also why they try to muddy the moral waters by saying the money will go to education. "Forclosures for education" should be their motto, Lose your paycheck for education! (and yes, I've seen them at the horsetrack, guys that blew their paycheck in a couple hours; seen it with my own eyes.)

Never mind that money will never really be put into education; that is, its fungible, the money it generates for education will be taken out of the general fund when the time counts. Plus the $100M they'll sending off to horseracing, notice how quiet they are about that, even fighting a lawsuit to keep this important information of the referendum.

No the "choice" argument a spurious one. you could apply it to anything: choice to smoke marijuana, choice to drive at any speed you want (which pretty much happens) choice to smoke cigerettes wherever you want.

You're implying this is a victimless activity, it most certainly is not.

Posted by: jhtlag... | October 20, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

It is interesting to me that so many anti-slot groups individuals often claim social ills or crime as a results of slots but hardly ever is there any research to back that up... I mean hard numbers not "it is well documented" -- by who? Who are these independent groups monitoring the facts on this? I would like to see real numbers of surrounding states before and after slots and see what the crime, etc... statistics are.

Posted by: Al | October 20, 2008 7:11 PM | Report abuse

We should all ask ourselves, "Do I really want to commit Maryland to a dependency on gambling revenue?".

I do not.

I prefer to live in Maryland and not Atlantic City.

Posted by: Donny | October 20, 2008 9:22 PM | Report abuse

jhtlag, you are on point with your comments. It would seem to me that the obvious "choice" here is one of responsibility. The citizens of MD have abdicated their responsibility to keep GovCo in check, and, instead of making the choice to stand up and say "no more", they are taking the easy way out...they've given up. This is another case of MD GovCo IT tax services tax here, a Wal-Mart tax there, maybe a little more tax on your energy and mobile phone bills, a little gambling God, you folks surrender more than the French. Does anyone see where this has led you? You're actually debating whether to legalize more gambling to secure this the best that the leadership in MD can generate? Here's the point: this referendum is an opportunity to send a message to the pols in's a chance for Marylanders to grow a pair. Vote No on slots. Save yourselves before it's too late. IMHO, of course.

Posted by: surrender | October 20, 2008 9:42 PM | Report abuse

I have yet to hear one solid reason why we would not vote in favor of slots at just a few locations (most of which already allow gambling). We are simply keeping revenue from leaving the state so that our kids benefit from MD dollars that are already being gambled in surrounding states. To deny that is to deny the truth. That is why the anti slots folks turn to things like increased crime and social ills to try in vain to support their weak case. Unfortunately for them, once again, the truth quite simply resides on the pro slots side of the coin. Studies in surrounding states have shown that the introduction of slots has not increased crime one bit, in fact these areas have flourished economically since slots were introduced. Let's set aside petty partisan politics (Franchot is exhibit A of this) and pass this obvious measure so that we can do that the right thing once and for all...and avoid raising taxes next year to boot.

Posted by: kesus | October 21, 2008 12:49 AM | Report abuse

This Constitutional Amendment will GIVE women and minority business a PERMANENT 1.5% of the slots money FOREVER
Vote no to question 2

Posted by: nrb | October 21, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

So even Yang, the pro-slots spokesperson, is hedging his bet on slots victory.

Slots revenue will never meet revenue projects and will barely cover the infrastructure costs that they will cause. So what's the point? A couple of bucks for more crime, spousal abuse and Mike Miller's ego tickling?

Say No to 2.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 21, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

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