Four years ago, we warned that if Gov. William Donald Schaefer and the General Assembly permitted the return of slot machines to eight Eastern Shore counties that other counties would seek similar approval. Legalized gambling devices would spread haphazardly with little supervision or strict accounting for the tens of millions of dollars sure to be poured into these one-armed bandits.
Now it is happening. Legislators from three counties -- Harford, Baltimore and Worcester -- are seeking to legalize slot machines in their jurisdictions, all making the came claims: the gambling devices would be allowed only in fraternal and non-profit service organization buildings; only five slots would be permitted per organization, and it would raise oodles of money for these groups to use for charitable and community good deeds.
If that's the case, then every jurisdiction in Maryland should have legalized slots. In fact, the state itself should get into the business. It surely would raise enough money to balance the budget and avert any tax increases.