Slots at Arundel Mills will kill horse racing

September 22, 2010

The ads promoting slots at Arundel Mills Mall on TV and delivered in the mail are very misleading. I support the group Stop Slots at Arundel Mills Mall, and though I could not sign it (I'm not an Anne Arundel County resident), I supported the petition drive for a November 2010 referendum on the zoning to allow slots at the mall. Anyone who lives in Anne Arundel County would be doing the county and state a huge favor by voting against Question A.

Without slots at Laurel Park, there will (in a short period of time) be very limited racing in Maryland. Horse investments in Maryland racing will be negatively impacted, a lot of the work force will be unemployed, and those who live on the track could become homeless. A slots parlor just 10 minutes away from Laurel Park will take customers away from the track. Regardless of any slots revenue allocated to the purse account and bred funds, purse enhancements won't mean a thing with no track to run at. The racetrack renewal funds are a matching funds mechanism. Laurel Park will not have any funds to match in order to make any improvements.

I have worked at the track since 1969. Horseracing and working at the track has been a lifelong passion. Slots at the track have been a campaign slogan for well over a decade, for the simple purpose of saving the Maryland horse racing industry.

Anytime you put a stand-alone slots emporium in the same area of any racetrack or if slots are not at the track, the racetrack loses. When I voted for the constitutional amendment to allow slots in November 2008, it was my thought (as it was for many of you that supported it) that Laurel Park was the obvious site for the Anne Arundel County slots parlor.

Voting against Question A is voting against slots at Arundel Mills. If Question A passes, slots will go to Arundel Mills and horse racing is dead. If Question A is defeated, the zoning process will start over.

Bobby Lillis, Westminster

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