Group opposed to Md. slots casino says it has enough signatures to force public vote
A coalition opposed to a planned slots casino at Arundel Mills mall said Friday that it had gathered far more signatures than required to force a public vote that could sink the project.
The group said it submitted an additional 16,702 voter signatures to the Anne Arundel County Board of Elections. A previous batch of signatures already certified by the board left the group with only 5,654 to collect to meet a Monday deadline for 19,790 names.
If the board validates enough of the signatures in coming days, county voters will get a say in November on zoning legislation approved by the county council in December that is needed for construction of Maryland's largest slots casino.
Cordish Cos., the Baltimore-based developer behind the planned slots casino, has sued the elections board, alleging "glaring and massive fraud" in the petition-gathering process.
"Neither two blizzards nor a baseless lawsuit by a casino developer could stop the extraordinary will and tireless efforts of county residents to place the slots zoning ordinance on the ballot," said Rob Annicelli, president of the citizens group "Stop Slots at Arundel Mills."
Annicelli's group joined forces on the petition drive with horse-racing interests who would like to see slots instead go to Laurel Park racetrack in Anne Arundel County. The state is awarding only one license in the county.
The Maryland Jockey Club, the operator of Laurel Park, has provided the vast majority of funding for the coalition, most of it for paid petition-gatherers.
March 5, 2010; 3:18 PM ET
Categories: John Wagner , Slots
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