Slots belong at the track

December 10, 2009

When I voted yes on the slots referendum in November 2008, it was my thought (like most who supported the referendum) that Laurel Park was the intended site for the Anne Arundel County slots parlor. I told all of my acquaintances, family, friends and co-workers to vote for the referendum in order to get slots at the track.

The horse racing industry employs tens of thousands of people who pay taxes. I am one of them. The racing industry supports a huge agri-business, ranging from the farmers who harvest the hay, grain, straw etc. for the horses to breeders who have put a strong horse foundation in our state. It's the reason Maryland has such beautiful horse farms and green space. Racing supports tractor and farm supply companies, blacksmiths, veterinarians, feed suppliers, tack shops, saddlers, hot walkers, grooms, exercise riders, mom-and-pop stables, mutuel tellers, parking lot attendants, security guards and so on. We need our jobs.

Without slots at Laurel Park there will soon be no racing in Maryland, and unemployment will go through the roof.

If you were in our shoes, I'm certain you would agree slots really should be at the track. Maryland racing is not dead; it just needs to be competitive with our neighbors. Slots belong at the track where it is already zoned for gambling, not at an already crowded shopping mall. Robert J. Lillis, Laurel

The writer is benefits coordinator for the Maryland Horsemen's Assistance Fund.

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