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Question Of The Month

Should Maryland gamble on slots?

January 31, 2004

I do not understand all the fuss over legalizing slot machines in Maryland. There already are hundreds (maybe thousands) of slot machines in this state. Are they all illegal?

They are in hundreds of bars and clubs from the Atlantic Ocean to the mountains in Western Maryland. People walk in the door, put their money in a slot on the machine, the electronic wheels spin, and they either win or lose. If they lose, they quit. If they win, the bartender gives them cash.

The machines go by names such as "video poker machines," but patrons still put money in a slot to play them.

The irony is that I doubt the state gets much, if any, of the cash that is exchanged between the players and the bar owners under this system.

Don Everly

Baltimore

I'd like to see slots, operated by private industry, at racetracks and elsewhere in the state as long as: 60 percent of the residents approve of slots in their community and a designated percentage of the gross from slots goes to improve that community.

I also want a designated percentage of the gross to go to the state's general fund.

But I do not want slots downtown or in Ocean City.

Harold Emanuel

Baltimore

Is it true that slot machines are now known as "weapons of mass seduction?"

Sol Goodman

Baltimore

Slots are not a question to be answered by politicos who have their own agendas. They must be placed before the people in a referendum.

It's way past time for those in power to realize the general population is not composed of released mental patients but by intelligent folks who read and understand the issues of the day just like politicians do.

As to the locations of the slot machines, it seems the pattern has been laid out for quite some time: They should be in casinos, at racetracks and in a limited number of bars where adults co-mingle.

Under no circumstance should they be placed where persons under the legal age may have access to them.

Jesse P. Peaker

Baltimore

Maryland should approve slots immediately - especially at established racetracks. They are already built, and have great parking in locations that are not overcrowded the way the Inner Harbor is.

Horse racing is in danger of being taken from Maryland if purses can't be increased. And part of the money from slots should go to the state to pay for education.

I am a senior citizen. Like many others, I have worked, raised a family and paid my taxes. Now I enjoy going on those senior buses to play the slots. We all just wish there could be some in Maryland.

Margaret M. Lewis

Baltimore

No more gambling in Maryland. The lottery is enough if people want to gamble.

Slots breed sleaze.

Agnes Childers

Baltimore

As a lifelong resident and taxpayer in Maryland, I would like to announce my opposition to slots, especially as a way to generate revenue for our state.

And I can't be the only one who knows that legal gambling would bring more economic strife and hardship for all.

People who have had their homes and families destroyed by the effects of gambling know this. Those who organize and attend Gamblers Anonymous know. Those whose businesses have been robbed or embezzled by addicts or who have lost their jobs because of a robbery or embezzlement know.

I also know that any revenue generated would be offset by tax monies spent on programs for the needy once slot gambling started to show its ills.

Kathy Harris

Elkridge

I truly believe that no good can come from bringing slot machines into our state.

Hundreds of statistics show the harm done to families because of gambling. And I believe that slots would cause major changes to the atmosphere of the cities and towns where they would be located.

We don't need slots in this state, and I don't want the education of my grandchildren to depend on people coming and throwing away their hard-earned money.

Mary T. Posey

Lusby

I don't see what all the hoopla is about gambling in Maryland.

People say slots would cause addiction (to gambling) and more crime. They say poor people would gamble their money away if slots were to come to Maryland.

Wake up, people. Poor people and gambling addicts already spend their hard-earned money on the state lottery and its various games. And go to any bar in the city, and I'll bet it pays off on its poker and slot machines.

And if people can't find what they want here, they'll go someplace else, such as Atlantic City, N.J., and Dover Downs.

Sandra Sauers

Baltimore

The state should approve slot machine gambling if the gambling is restricted to specific locations such as casinos and racetracks where it can be carefully watched.

Tom Gill

North Beach

For the sake of the children, I say no to slots.

What kind of message is it for the children of this state, that we adults would advocate using revenue from gambling to support our schools?

Children are our future; let's show them how much we value them and their education by supporting schools through our taxes and by saying no to the corruption of gambling.

Jeanne Ruddock

Baldwin

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