Leopold signs slots bill for Arundel Mills mall
Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold (R) on Tuesday morning signed zoning legislation allowing a slots casino at Arundel Mills mall, saying it would help him keep a promise not to raise property or income taxes.
Leopold also vetoed a competing zoning bill that would have allowed slots at several locations in the county -- but not at the mall, where the state has awarded a license for a 4,750-machine casino.
The Anne Arundel County Council, ending nine months of deliberations on slots zoning legislation, passed both bills Monday night on 4 to 2 votes.
In a veto message, Leopold said the bill excluding the mall could not be reconciled with the other bill that passed. Moreover, Leopold said, the vetoed bill would have been open to legal challenge because it appears to discriminate against certain properties.
"In a statewide referendum voters approved slot machines to generate revenue for public education by a margin of 60 percent to 40 percent," Leopold said in a statement. "This legislation will generate nearly $30 million annually for Anne Arundel County and about $450 million for the State of Maryland. Anne Arundel County currently faces a $93 million shortfall for the FY2011budget."
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