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October 21, 2008

New slots ad: Keep Maryland money in Maryland

Keeping with its economic argument for expanded gambling, the pro-slots ballot committee For Maryland For Our Future released a new ad today arguing that voters should approve November's gambling referendum to keep Maryland money in Maryland.

This has long been a mainstay of the pro-slots argument, and a point designed to appeal to people who might not be all that keen on playing slots themselves. Essentially, it says that Marylanders are playing slots anyway, so why not get the benefit of it here?

The ad pegs the amount Marylanders now spend on slots out of state at $400 million, but that figure isn't set in stone. The number comes from a 2007 report from Labor, Licensing and Regulation Secretary Tom Perez and is calculated based on a five-year-old study from Delaware about the percentage of people from other states who play slots there and a guesstimate from the owner of Charles Town Races and Slots in West Virginia. Based on that, Perez estimates that Marylanders spend $350 million to $400 million a year on slots in those states.

Setting aside the question of whether those numbers are accurate, they point to an interesting thing about slots math. If all we were contemplating was keeping Maryland revenue in Maryland, the $400 million the state's residents now spend on slots in neighboring states would translate into just $268 million for the treasury, a far cry from the $600 million-plus the state is expecting.

To get to $600 million for the state, slots parlors in Maryland would have to gross about $896 million a year, or more than double what Perez estimates Marylanders are now plunking into the machines in West Virginia, Delaware and Pennsylvania. Granted, some of the Maryland revenue would be expected to come from out-of-staters, but how much, given that Maryland is virtually surrounded by states that allow gambling? Unless 70 percent of Maryland's slots take comes from out of state (probably not a realistic guess), the slots plan is predicated on the notion that Marylanders would gamble more than they do now if slots are allowed here.

Posted by Andy Green at 2:02 PM | | Comments (13)


This Constitutional Amendment will GIVE women and minority business a PERMANENT 1.5% of the slots money FOREVER
Vote no to question 2

Please, allow me to make the decision to play slots or not. I don't need the government to make the decision for me. Of course the amount of money the slots will generate is not known. But maybe you should look at how much is generated in West VA, PA and Delaware, its quite astounding. PA even lowered the property taxes across the entire state. And not one of these three states have been overun with crime, addiction or any of the other imagined ills of slots.

So Marylanders who gamble out of state may only spend $400 million. You know $400 million is nothing, let's just keep on giving that away every year. I'd much rather see even that "small" sum stay in Maryland than lose it to other states.

Also, what about all those people that can't make it out of state to gamble but would like to have some fun at a slot machine every once in a while, like myself. Why should we be punished? I think it is ridiculous that the government is always telling us what we can't do when it come to our entertainment.

Also, if every state around us has slots, isn't that saying something?

Simply put, we are in a time where a LOT of people like to gamble, whether it be slots, poker, sports, blackjack or whatever. Heck, people even watch hours and hours of poker on TV. Let's not forget, if you own a stock or a 401K , YOU are a Gambler. Anytime you can LOSE money, you are a taking a RISK or Gambling. What about all the money that Marylanders gamble and spend in Atlantic City and Las Vegas every week? For the people who enjoy gambling, let them gamble and give them places here. It's ridiculous to allow money to continue to flow out of this state, whatever the amount "really" is?

But Andy our beloved and wise Governor says it's our only way to save MD priorities. The Sun's Editorial board agrees with that postition and they would never allow partisan politics to cloud their judgement.

Keep the money in the state? I wasn't aware that we had annexed Canada.

Fake-Name-Guy, The anti-slots folks sound like idiots when they spew out the rhetoric about foreign companies getting the money. Here are some interesting facts about Maryland :

Foreign Investment Creates Jobs in Maryland

In 2006, foreign-controlled companies employed 104,100 workers in Maryland. Major sources of Maryland's foreign investment in 2006 included the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Switzerland.

Over one-sixth of these jobs (18 percent, or 18,400 workers) were in the manufacturing sector in 2006.

Foreign-controlled companies accounted for 13.4 percent, over one-eighth, of total manufacturing employment in Maryland in 2006.

Foreign investment in Maryland was responsible for 4.8 percent of the state’s total private-industry employment in 2006.

Note: All figures exclude employment in banks affiliated with foreign companies.

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Let us all investigate, research and learn and not just believe.

This is the most cowardly thing the politicians in Annapolis have ever done. After promising all these hotel developers that we would have slots they found out that it might not be popular. So rather than make a stand that would not be popular they come up with this referendum so that when it passes they won't face the wrath of those who opposed it. What are they going to do when DE, WV, and PA allow gaming tables (poker, blackjack, roulette)? Or do you think those states are just going to throw up their hands and allow that money to stay here? I live near DE and both Harrington and Dover have gone over huge renovations over the last year. Maybe for the space needed for table games? When you vote keep in mind that it will not stop here and that we will have full fledged casinos before you know it. Not that it is a bad thing neccessarily, just don't delude yourself. Remember the Md Lottery used to just be a once a day 3 digit drawing now its 3 digits twice a day, a four digit daily, lotto, pick 5, mega millions, scratch offs and whatever else I'm forgetting. The politicians in Annapolis ought to for once think ahead and just propose the whole works and just save us all the time.


None of that shows that gambling profits will not go into the pockets of foreigners. All it shows is that Indian steel magnates (well, until he had to sell up), Dutch bankers, and other foreigners work the people of Maryland like a bunch of navvies.

Look, if you want gambling, let's divorce it from the absurd notion that it will, or ought, to be tied to horse racing. Horses are dead; let's have a moment of silence and move on. There's no need to do this just to please Sen. Miller's Canadian gambling buddies.

Hey FNG,
What many in Maryland do not know is that HORSE RACING IS NOT DEAD! People of Maryland are being trained to believe such hogwash to promote their agenda...i.e. Michael Busch. Greed in this state has taken over truth. In truth in surrounding states horse racing is thriving. Tracks do not have the attendance level as before the lottery, but the betting handle has never been higher,
Simulcasting is the game now. People can bet from home watching races over the internet or T.V. or on track in the simulcast room or at off track locations. Unfortunately, in Maryland, because of the unlevel playing field, the quality of our horses has decreased. Surrounding tracks have increased purses which in turn draws a better product.
BTW if the potential buyer of Laurel and Pimilco can survive without slots that is great! More power to him. Most horseman do not like slots either, but that has become the necessary evil of the game. Many in Maryland are just like you..."Let horse racing die." I have heard it now for years. Don't worry it will be gone in Maryland if slots are not passed. No owners, trainers or breeders will stay in Maryland. That is the honest truth. Luckily we have PA, NY, WV and DE who love our business and see the agricultural benefits and trickle down economics of our sport.
Remember the Baltimore Colts? What did Marylanders have to do to get a team back?
And what the heck is "nawies"?

HI its true horse racing is not dead yet. But it could be in maryland. with no better purse money and no money for the horseman. Well Maryland had great history of Race Horses if you forget. I was part of a horseman commitee in NY and PA state with their slots. A lot of the money went to public schools and helped, but we can stop certain things from happening by criminal addemption in maryland. Well remember owners of the tracks also like Harness racing Rosecroft and Ocean downs are public owners, not high power hungry owners.
I say yes to BTW, but i also love my state of maryland so i can remember.
Horse racing history is still alive in MD.

If horses weren't dead, the tracks could keep themselves open, without slot machines or other children's toys. Unless they can do that, it's just artificial respiration. As for agricultural benefits, horses take up a lot of land that could be used for useful agriculture.

Navvies? You know, laborers, coolies, people who are overworked and underpaid.

Oh Anonymous (21 Oct 10.38pm) how sadly misinformed you truly are! Look at other Australia we were all conned just like Marylanders are now, tricked into accepting slots (or pokies) by a very clever, rapaciously greedy gambling industry!

Please be aware that your crime rate from theft will soar, your suicide, divorce and bankruptcy rates will all rise dramatically and YOU the tax payers will have to pay for these fallouts! The gambling industry will be the only winner in the end!

Check out how the other world governments are now too weakened to allow the real harms of slots to be reported. Quick money in government coffers 'looks' impressive but responsible business development would have brought better returns for all with much more employment.

As a rule of thumb $1 million extra must be taken in a gambling venue to employ even one more person. What would a grant of say $100,000 do to strengthen your local restaurant businesses in employment terms?

Slots kill restaurants, hairdressers, shoe shops, jewellery and antique shops, even bank deposit accounts to pay home mortgages. Why do you think that so many vulnerable people are losing their homes? Much because vulnerable people play slots!

Sure you have the right to choose on slots but YOU will be paying the extra hidden costs whether you use slots or not!
We read your newspapers, see what rubbish you are being told....we were told the same nonsense! You are not being told the truth to allow you to make an informed choice! Figures for problems and problem gamblers are twisted, played down...why would Australia be now trying to ban these gambling machines if they were the bonus you are being told will be possible?

Why do you not ask health officials from other countries to tell you all of the added health costs that will occur...all hidden under 'homelessness, suicide, murder, fostercare, depression, violence, family theft, divorce, juvenile crime, truancy and even food parcels"? The connection to pokies will be unmentioned of course. Ask yourselves how you will ALL feel when your kids are bullied at school and classes are ruined by the antics of desperately neglected, hungry, over-tired and emotionally wrecked children of slots-users! Our schools are destroyed and so are our streets! Gangs are bashing people to find money for gambling.

By the way...gambling addiction rates for slots users is proven to be between 60 and and up to 90% of people present in gambling venues. You are being fed convenient lies by a lazy government who has no resources to build business correctly and ethically. You ALL will pay the costs because the costs outweigh the profits for governments.

Vote no to slots Anonymous unless you also sign a pledge to pay then their added costs! It will be on your head if you continue to ignore genuine warnings!

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Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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