Slots Bill May Not Even Be Up For a Vote in Maryland
The slots bill’s aim of legalizing slot machines in Maryland has not progressed in the passed 4 years; prospects regarding the passage of the bill in the current session are not very good.
On March 7, 2007, acknowledging that the slots bill has a big chance of not passing, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. commented that it will be hard enough to debate the looming $1.3 billion that Maryland faces.
He told the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee that they can raise around $800 million for public schools yearly if they approve the placement of 15,500 slot machines in 7 areas. The chances that the bill will even be discussed in the Senate Chamber are equal to zero.
The Hearing will show the testimonies from the leading members of the horse racing industry who commented that neighboring states, like Pennsylvania, that have slot machines placed in their racing tracks are slowly killing the horse race industry in Maryland.
The extra money will create bigger prizes that Maryland cannot possibly compete with, according to Alan Foreman, General Counsel for the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. He said that the bottom line is that they need money desperately.
Minor Carter, a resident of Annapolis who is the representative of Stop Slots Maryland, commented that their organization was preparing for the bigger battles regarding the slots problem. He also said that influencing the Senate will not work because of the ability of Miller to push the legislation to pass.
Mr. Miller said that some parts of the slots law may pass because of the shortage in cash. He also commented that he is discussing the matter with Gov. Martin O’Malley and House Speaker Michael E. Busch, a Democrat from Annapolis, and trying to come up with an alternative solution in the event that the slot machines will not be approved.
Mr. Busch, one of the staunchest opponents of casino slots, commented that the current Senate situation must be used for more important issues. Mr. O’Malley commented that while he is in favor of the slot machines in racing tracks, the current session should be utilized for more immediate issues; the debate regarding new sources of money, like the slot machines, can be relegated for next year’s session.