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O'Malley Chides Anne Arundel Council for Slots Delay

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) today prodded -- and not so gently -- the Anne Arundel County Council to act on zoning legislation required to allow the largest slot-machine gambling facililty envisioned by the state to operate.

"I wish the Anne Arundel County Council would make a decision," O'Malley said during an appearance before a statewide gathering of horse industry leaders. "Tell them to stop postponing and make a decision. It's holding the rest of us up from moving forward."

The governor said essentially the same thing several more times while addressing a meeting of the Maryland Horse Forum in Upper Marlboro -- and then a couple of times more while taking questions from reporters afterward.

A provision added to the 2007 slots bill passed by the General Assembly gave local leaders a say over where facilities can be located through the use of their zoning power. The battle has been most tumultous in Anne Arundel, one of five jurisdictions where sites are authorized.

Zoning legislation introduced by County Executive John R. Leopold (R) was pulled last month after multiple delays by the council. Leopold has now sent another bill to the council, but it remains unclear when debate will resume.

The only pending bid for the Anne Arundel slots license calls for putting 4,750 machines at Arundel Mills Mall, an idea that has sparked opposition from some in the surrounding community. O'Malley today restated his preference for putting slots at racetracks but said the zoning decision rests with the council.

"I just want a decision," he told reporters.

A state commission is reviewing bids in Anne Arundel and other jurisdictions and has said it will make decisions about licenses in the fall.

The horse industry leaders have a keen interest in the issue, regardless of whether slot machines are located at tracks. A percentage of the revenue of all machines is to be set aside to subsidize the industry.

By John Wagner  |  August 6, 2009; 4:07 PM ET
Categories:  John Wagner  
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The residents of Anne Arundel County deserve the same 1/4 of a mile buffer between residental communities and a casino which was given to the residents of Baltimore City. Get the facts:

Posted by: Rob_A | August 6, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

John: Leopold was supposed to submit a 'retreaded' bill on August 3rd, However he County Council did not introduce it on that day. There is no bill currently before them.

Posted by: Rob_A | August 6, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold did, indeed, resubmit video lottery facility zoning legislation to the County Council. The bills are not "retreaded" but represent all of the protections for the community that had been included as a result of citizen testimony during earlier Council deliberations. It is the Council that has chosen not to proceed with consideration of the bills.

Posted by: treynolds1 | August 7, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Actually the revised legislation proposed by the County Executive included no protections for the community. I know this to be factual, since I have attended every County Council meeting and public forum related to slots in the county, and met with the Council members to discuss the proposed legislation. Get the facts and visit the website.

Posted by: douglasp | August 8, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

All: Please note that Tracy Reynolds (Who I suspect is treynolds1) works for AA Co. Government in Leopold's PR shop. She is the co-host of their 'week in review.'

Posted by: Hanover_Resident | August 8, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Tracy, what you are suggesting is that Leopold has lost control over the debate. As a former slots opponent will he now cave into O'Malley and Miller? If so, this is why Republican's can not stand up to the Dems.

Posted by: Hanover_Resident | August 8, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Stop the bailout from going forward.

Posted by: george_w_bush0 | August 10, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

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