Give slots a home where the Range Rovers roam

February 27, 2005|By DAN RODRICKS

I DON'T KNOW why they didn't specifically mention Gibson Island in the slots bill. I mean, it's in Anne Arundel County, and the bill approved in the Maryland House of Delegates on Friday would allow slots in Anne Arundel County. Based on what I've seen of it from the air and from my friend's Egg Harbor, The Miss Demeanor, there's room on Gibson Island for a slots emporium. And, most important of all, that's where some serious money lives, or at least weekends.

Even more so in Annapolis, Davidsonville, Crownsville and Severna Park. You're talking average household incomes comfortably above six figures. You can Google it.

Call me crazy, but I think we should plant slot machines where the money is. Let's do this right.

Guy drives his Hummer to a gas station for a fill-up, he should have a chance to play the slots during the half-hour it takes him to fill up his tank. Play at the Pump! You don't need a marketing degree from Strayer University to figure that one out, bubba.

I am not trying to start a fight.

I am finished fighting. Goodbye to all that.

Governor Bobby Slots made it clear he was never going to give up on bringing something like a million slot machines to Maryland - OK, I exaggerate; it's only 15,500 in the bill the state Senate approved - and it looks like he's finally getting what he wants. The House speaker, Mike Busch, didn't like being viewed as the hard guy in this fight any more, so he let the debate come out on the House floor, and before you could say "Ka-ching" - OK, I exaggerate; the debate lasted about three years and 90 minutes - our lobbied-to-death, clueless-how-to-spur-economic-growth-otherwise delegates approved the deployment of 9,500 slot machines in Maryland, by a vote of 71-66.

I see how this is going. I can read the tea leaves on the wall (to quote myself, with thanks to Yogi Berra).

Maryland could soon be in the same class as Delaware and West Virginia. Yee-haw!

Now there are still more legislative hurdles standing between Marylanders and Maryland slots, and there's going to be a lot of what-and-where about the locations of these machines.

But one thing I noticed in the bill just passed - none of your wealthier, your tonier, your yuppier, your Range-Rovier kind of places are mentioned.

Talk about dumb.

If we want to make money off slots, and we don't (yet) have a fabulous, big-destination place to put them all (like a casino), shouldn't we locate them strategically and specifically in places convenient to people with money?

That's why I mentioned Gibson Island, Annapolis and the places that end in "ville."

Even dumber, Montgomery County isn't on the list of prospective slot counties, and it's one of the wealthiest counties in these United States.

I was just there the other day, visited a country club even, and the people were very nice, and not only did they give us free coffee, they gave us fresh croissants! We didn't get no stinkin' doughnuts. We got croissants!

A few slot machines, discreetly installed at the tastefully designed supermarket off Connecticut Avenue in Chevy Chase - how did we miss this opportunity?

Be that as it may, we must deal with the hand with which we are dealt (to quote myself, with thanks to Yogi Berra).

The bill allows slots in Anne Arundel, Allegany, Harford and Frederick counties.

In Anne Arundel, they're talking about jamming a few thousand slot machines at the race track in Laurel. Bor-ring!

What's wrong with historic Annapolis? Why are we ashamed to put slot machines down the street from the state capitol where the House bill just won passage and a Senate bill won approval earlier this month?

Think of the number of tourists who hit Nap Towne every year, as well as the yachting crowd. You're talking an armada of serious scratch. I like Annapolis. It's quaint. You can buy nice sweaters there. But the place needs a little zing, a little edge, a little old lady yelling "Yeah, baby!"

In Harford County, the opportunities are immense.

First of all, there's Route 40. If ever an American thoroughfare was made for gambling, it's Route 40. Or why not slots at C-Mart in Bel Air? Aside from Conowingo Dam, that's about the most popular destination in the county. They could clear out a section of slow-moving apparel and put in a few dozen slots, giving the guys something to do while their wives dig through towels and the women something to do while their men try on pants.

Then there's the toll plaza on Interstate 95 at Perryville. I've said it before and I'll say it again: We should install drive-by slot machines in toll booths. Drivers can get rid of their loose change and play the slots at the same time. And let's not forget Maryland House, the big rest stop on the interstate. If we don't install slots there - one right next to every urinal - we are crazy.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.