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Md. court allows Anne Arundel slots referendum

Thumbnail image for aaslots.jpgMaryland's highest court has issued an order allowing a referendum on the state's largest planned slots casino to move forward in Anne Arundel County.

Just hours after hearing arguments in the case, the Court of Appeals decided to allow a public vote on a zoning measure needed to build a 4,750-machine casino at Arundel Mills mall.

An Anne Arundel County Circuit Court judge had ruled that the zoning measure was not subject to a public vote because it was part of an appropriations package.

The high court did not explain its reasoning in its order but apparently rejected that interpretation.

A coalition of homeowners surrounding the mall and horse -- racing interests -- who want a slots casino at nearby Laurel Park racetrack instead -- had spearheaded a petition drive to put the measure on the ballot. Anne Arundel County law allows citizens to second-guess County Council decisions if enough voter signatures are gathered.

The case has political implications for the governor's race.

By John Wagner  |  July 20, 2010; 1:41 PM ET
Categories:  John Wagner , Slots  
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Comments

Maryland doesn't need slots or more gambling.
we already have keno and scratch cards and mega millions and the powerball and lotto.

let west virginia and delaware have the slots. they have nothing else to offer visitors.

gambling is just a burden on society.

Posted by: MarilynManson | July 20, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

The people who live around Arundel Mills were so sure that the slots would go to Laurel Race Track that they voted for them. Now they've decided they don't want their lovely homes near a gambling facility. Perhaps they won't be so quick to vote something they don't want for themselves on someone else.

Posted by: ysatis830 | July 20, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

The entire state of Maryland voted for slots, not just Anne Arundel.

And I'm happy that this bait-and-switch exercise at least lets county voters decide. This "oh we need slots to save the racing industry" argument, which gave way to "ohmigod do you know how much money it would make at Arundel Mills" is clearly a bait-and-switch, and next time maybe the legislature will be more careful crafting the laws.

Then again, that assumes that they think. Remember, they deregulated the power companies thinking it would save us a bundle too.

Posted by: Diamondback1 | July 20, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

This is just crazy! While we are fighting over "not in my neighborhood, but OK in your's"....it's just crazy. What I don't understand is the Cordish Co did everything they were suppose to do. They paid the 28 million deposit and they were awarded the license. If the referendum doesn't pass, they still have the license? They can just seek another location? There still is no certainty that Laurel Park will win the re-bid. Some other big group may decide to seek the license. Not to mention the state will have to refund the 28 million (with interest)to Cordish. I hope it passes in November, it will be a slap in the face to everybody. We look like fools while Del, WVa and Penn are laughing all the way to the bank. Hello higher property taxes!!! Does the state vote on this issue or just AA county?

Posted by: md350g | July 20, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

LOL: "Anne Arundel County law allows citizens to second-guess County Council decisions if enough voter signatures are gathered." It's called a ballot initiative; lots of places other than Anne Arundel county have them. :D

I also love how boy genius says “second-guess,” as if voters were uppity backseat drivers or something.

Posted by: ajcooke24601 | July 21, 2010 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Great news. I don't personally know any residents in AA county that are in favor of slots at Arundel Mills and I've lived in the county for 25 years.

In 2008, the slots at the Laurel Park Racetrack were pitched as a way to help revive a stuggling horse racing industry, provide additional revenue for local schools, and supply some much needed jobs in that area. The papers never portrayed Arundel Mills as even a third alternative. Somewhere along the way the focus changed into a money grubbing venture that disregarded the wishes of the county residents, and deemed it OK to put an enormous gambling venue next to our state's busiest family attraction (14 million visitors/year).

How'd that happen? Seems like very questionable judgement by the county council. It was disappointing. At least the Court of Appeals has allowed county residents a say in this obvious bait-and-switch.

Posted by: ceemonster1 | July 21, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

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