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NEWS
February 22, 2009
For years, Baltimore has been shortchanged tens of millions of dollars in amusement tax revenue from unlicensed video poker machines in bars and other businesses and the alleged illegal gambling that occurs. City Councilman Robert W. Curran has come up with an inventive plan to beat the businesses at their own larcenous game. He wants to exclude the machines from the state's 10 percent amusement tax and instead charge a $3,000 fee per machine. Now there's a jackpot. Mr. Curran is expected to introduce a bill into the City Council tomorrow that proposes the new fee structure, which he says could generate $5 million or more in revenue for the city each year.
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NEWS
By Annie Linskey and Annie Linskey,annie.linskey@baltsun.com | May 31, 2009
Gamblers sipping beer at the East Baltimore bar have plenty of options. There's a Keno monitor in one corner. A vending machine offers scratch-off lottery tickets in another. Screens show horses running in another. And against one wall stands a bank of four video poker machines. The first three types of games present legal opportunities to win or lose cash. But the row of video poker machines are supposed to be for amusement only: If you win, you aren't supposed to get money back. But seasoned gamblers and even industry representatives say many bars like this one pay out cash to the winners, though such transactions are made in backrooms, or sometimes even bathrooms.
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NEWS
By Carol L. Bowers and Carol L. Bowers,Staff writer | February 3, 1991
Video poker and slot machines would be legalized in Harford County under two bills to be introduced this week in the General Assembly by Sen. William H. Amoss, D-District 35A.Amoss said he will introduce tomorrow a bill which would allow establishments with liquor licenses -- such as bars and private clubs -- to have two video poker computer machines on the premises for entertainment. The game is played byhitting a button to stop cards flashing across a screen.A second bill he plans to propose would legalize the use of slot machines only in private, non-profit clubs -- such as American Legionor VFW posts.
NEWS
February 22, 2009
For years, Baltimore has been shortchanged tens of millions of dollars in amusement tax revenue from unlicensed video poker machines in bars and other businesses and the alleged illegal gambling that occurs. City Councilman Robert W. Curran has come up with an inventive plan to beat the businesses at their own larcenous game. He wants to exclude the machines from the state's 10 percent amusement tax and instead charge a $3,000 fee per machine. Now there's a jackpot. Mr. Curran is expected to introduce a bill into the City Council tomorrow that proposes the new fee structure, which he says could generate $5 million or more in revenue for the city each year.
NEWS
By Annie Linskey and Annie Linskey,annie.linskey@baltsun.com | May 31, 2009
Gamblers sipping beer at the East Baltimore bar have plenty of options. There's a Keno monitor in one corner. A vending machine offers scratch-off lottery tickets in another. Screens show horses running in another. And against one wall stands a bank of four video poker machines. The first three types of games present legal opportunities to win or lose cash. But the row of video poker machines are supposed to be for amusement only: If you win, you aren't supposed to get money back. But seasoned gamblers and even industry representatives say many bars like this one pay out cash to the winners, though such transactions are made in backrooms, or sometimes even bathrooms.
NEWS
By JOAN JACOBSON and JOAN JACOBSON,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | February 26, 2006
Maryland's debate over whether to allow slot machines is purely academic. Truth is, slots are already here. Thousands of them are hiding in plain sight in bars and other businesses in Baltimore City and County. This gambling machine industry has been thriving for decades, producing many millions in largely untaxed dollars for their operators. The machines, also known as video poker machines, are slot machines without slots. The Baltimore City and Baltimore County governments even license them on the pretense that they are amusement devices.
NEWS
August 30, 1992
A Baltimore County liquor board regulation prohibits payoffs to players of the video poker machines that are fixtures in many local taverns. But, in the parlance of poker, the rule is a bluff.Undercover detectives spend hours and tax-dollars to nab bar owners making illegal payments. Yet the accused routinely are given probation before judgment (PBJ) in court. They escape real punishment because of a 12-year-old clause in the liquor board regulations, which says a bar owner's license can't be revoked unless he is found guilty of, or pleads "no contest" to, gambling charges.
NEWS
November 25, 1992
Carroll County's fraternal organizations should not be allowed to bully the county commissioners and State House delegation into legalizing video poker machines in the county. While video poker games would be a lucrative source of revenue for these clubs, the price for the rest of society is far too high.Video poker machines are nothing more than glorified electronic slot machines. The machines usually offer players a choice of 10 games, ranging from bingo to something resembling Maryland's instant lottery.
NEWS
February 28, 2008
If you want to gamble in Maryland, you don't have to look far. There are thousands of electronic bingo and video poker machines in bars, restaurants, convenience stores and other locations across the state. The video poker machines take your money and, if you have a winning hand, the bartender or storeowner gives you credit or pays you off. The newer bingo machines look like real slot machines, pay off winners directly and have been declared legal by the state's highest court. But both devices should be outlawed because they are nearly impossible to regulate, cost the state millions in uncollected tax revenues and basically serve as de facto slot machines, which are illegal.
NEWS
By Roger Twigg and Roger Twigg,Staff Writer | March 5, 1992
Four unlicensed video poker machines were seized yesterday from a Veterans of Foreign Wars club in Crisfield during a series of gambling raids across Maryland by the State Police.They served search warrants to vending machine businesses in Carroll, Prince George's and Somerset counties, seizing records in connection with a nine-month undercover investigation into the transportation and use of gambling machines in Maryland and across state lines, authorities said last night.Thomas Rye, 49, of Jarrettsville, owner of LBJ Enterprises, and John Obradovic, 48, of Severna Park, owner of JMO Associates, were charged with illegal possession of slot machines.
NEWS
By Gadi Dechter and Gadi Dechter,sun Reporter | June 18, 2008
Comptroller Peter Franchot announced yesterday a broad crackdown on video poker machines at Maryland bars, saying the tax collector's office would use its authority to enforce alcohol laws to pressure liquor-license holders to get rid of the "for-amusement-only" devices that he says are mostly operated as illegal slot machines. Last week, Franchot, a Montgomery County Democrat and ardent gambling opponent, sent a letter to the state's 7,200 liquor licensees informing them that his interpretation of Maryland case law means that even putatively amusement-only consoles, such as video poker games, may be considered "slot machines" and therefore subject to criminal prosecution or revocation of liquor licenses.
NEWS
February 28, 2008
If you want to gamble in Maryland, you don't have to look far. There are thousands of electronic bingo and video poker machines in bars, restaurants, convenience stores and other locations across the state. The video poker machines take your money and, if you have a winning hand, the bartender or storeowner gives you credit or pays you off. The newer bingo machines look like real slot machines, pay off winners directly and have been declared legal by the state's highest court. But both devices should be outlawed because they are nearly impossible to regulate, cost the state millions in uncollected tax revenues and basically serve as de facto slot machines, which are illegal.
ENTERTAINMENT
By SAM SESSA | December 21, 2006
Add another name to Baltimore's long list of offbeat bars. The Jazzy Blues Club, a new corner nightspot in Upper Fells Point, is hard to pin down. The place is actually more pub than club -- there's not much room for lounging, but it does have a long bar, video poker machines and a large TV. The overhead sign hanging out front has the club's name and a picture of a saxophone churning out notes, which is kind of misleading, considering the bar has no...
NEWS
By JOAN JACOBSON and JOAN JACOBSON,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | February 26, 2006
Maryland's debate over whether to allow slot machines is purely academic. Truth is, slots are already here. Thousands of them are hiding in plain sight in bars and other businesses in Baltimore City and County. This gambling machine industry has been thriving for decades, producing many millions in largely untaxed dollars for their operators. The machines, also known as video poker machines, are slot machines without slots. The Baltimore City and Baltimore County governments even license them on the pretense that they are amusement devices.
NEWS
BY A SUN STAFF WRITER | September 13, 2003
Police raided yesterday a Northeast Baltimore bar under investigation of suspicions of illegal gambling and seized 24 guns, nearly $2,100 in cash and a small amount of marijuana and cocaine. The vice unit raided Sheldon's in the 4300 block of Belair Road about 2:30 p.m. and arrested the owner and a bartender. Police officers found drugs on the bartender, Robin White, 30, of the 4200 block of Nicholas Ave., said Sgt. Sean Kapfhammer. The cache of rifles, shotguns and handguns was found on the second floor, where the owner, Nancy Honeycutt, 31, lives.
NEWS
November 17, 2000
WHEN YOU DON'T enforce the law, guess what usually happens? Violations proliferate, especially if those violations can mean big financial gains. Look at Allegany County, where the state's attorney decided four years ago to ignore Maryland's gambling laws. Now he seems shocked that tip jars (in which "tips" -- similar to instant lottery rub-offs -- are pulled by players from a jar) and electronic gambling machines are the favorite pastime in local taverns. They also have popped up at gas stations, liquor stores and neighborhood groceries.
NEWS
By Greg Tasker and Greg Tasker,Staff Writer | November 22, 1992
A group of Carroll fraternal organizations is pushing the county commissioners to endorse legalization of video poker machines.The organizations -- including the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Moose and the Elks -- will meet with the commissioners at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Westminster Moose Lodge to discuss the issue and demonstrate a state-of-the-art video poker machine.The groups want the commissioners to urge Carroll's General Assembly delegation to introduce legislation next year that would grant them an exception to the state's gaming laws.
NEWS
By Alan J. Craver and Alan J. Craver,Staff writer | February 17, 1991
Gov. William Donald Schaefer plans to veto legislation that would permit video poker and slot machines in Harford County if the bills pass the General Assembly.Schaefer is opposed to the legislation, introduced in the state Senate on Feb. 4. He is concerned that poker and slot machines in the county would open the door to gambling and organized crime, said Paul E. Schurick, the governor's press secretary."He feels that their proliferation could potentially lead to problems down the road," Schurick said.
NEWS
October 21, 1999
If slots are so bad, what about lotteries and other gambling?I agree with The Sun's editorial regarding South Carolina's ubiquitous video poker machines ("Silencing South Carolina slots," Oct. 17). However, I fail to see the difference between the seduction of video poker machines and a state-sponsored daily lottery.How is a vending machine selling "Scratch-Offs" in a grocery store any safer for players than a poker machine in a laundromat?In fact, the video poker machines don't have slick TV commercials seducing folks with dreams of riches.
NEWS
October 17, 1999
THOSE who fear the evils of ubiquitous gambling at every corner store need look no further than South Carolina for a glaring example of the dangers.Thirty-four thousand video-poker slot machines, in hundreds of convenience stores, gas stations and even in laundromats, blanket the state. It's a $2.8 billion industry built on greed and corruption.Anti-gambling advocates breathed a giant sigh of relief last week when that state's Supreme Court invalidated a Nov. 2 referendum on slots, and in the process set the stage for their mandated elimination next July 1. South Carolina's governor and its House speaker said the court's ruling settled the matter.
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