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Franchot: Slots Won't Help in Short Term

Election Night was not a good night for Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) whose ardent fight to keep slot machines out of Maryland met defeat in every county in the state.

He was still fighting this morning, expressing "disappointment" that the measure won and repeating his claim that gambling revenue will not dig state government out of its economic hole.

"Slots are not going to be helpful in the short term," Franchot said after the biweekly meeting of the Board of Public Works, which includes him, slots supporter Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and Treasurer Nancy Kopp (D). "We are facing what I believe will be an increasing problem with our fiscal situation."

Franchot said he was "incrediblly proud that, despite the blizzard of ads from the other side and the deceptive and misleading wording of the resolution, we fought the good fight. We're comfortable with the campaign."

In a letter sent to supporters this afternoon, the comptroller was more blunt, describing his side as underdogs in a David-vs-Goliath struggle:

"We had the establishment against us, the lobbyists and the special interests they represent--and we had the deep pockets of the national gambling industry pouring money into our state in record amounts," he wrote.

Slots proponents "made promises that they will never, ever be able to keep," the letter continues. "But hundreds of thousands of voters all across Maryland saw through this and stood up for what is right and let their votes be heard..."

Just not enough to defeat Question 2.

By Lisa Rein  |  November 5, 2008; 1:34 PM ET
Categories:  Lisa Rein  
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Maryland need look no further than the Australian experience to understand the future direction slots are likely to take as they get a foothold. Australia began its experience in 1956 with legalisation of poker machines (slots) in NSW. Australia now has 200,000 machines robbing AUD 8 billion from families each year. Problem gambling is an enormous problem and putting the genie back in the bottle is a huge hurdle. But we are pushing for smart cards that limit losses to the financial ability to lose. A website has been established to track the efforts to reform Australia's pokies scourge. I urge Maryland residents to learn more and demand smart cards be mandatory for use of slots.

Posted by: RichardWolffakaDaviidv | November 5, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Right, because Maryland has a long history of refusing to allow such other legalized gambling efforts as horse racing or a statewide lottery...oh, wait...

Frankly, if it keeps people from driving to Delaware to waste their money that's fine with me.

Posted by: kennedye | November 5, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to Atlantic City, Maryland!

Posted by: free-donny | November 9, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

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