It's Time to Legalize Slots in the State of Maryland

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The issue of legalizing slots and/or legalized gambling in the State of Maryland is a complex one, and one of great consequence to both the State’s residents, and the future of the State itself. Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich’s slots bill proposes that the State place a total of 15,500 slot machines or video poker machines in six different locations, three of which would be chosen from a pool of four Maryland racetracks. The racetracks that would be eligible to install slots or video poker machines are Laurel Park racecourse in Laurel, Rosecroft Raceway in Prince George’s county, a track that would be built at a later date in Allegheny county, and the Preakness Stakes host Pimlico in Baltimore; In effect turning those racetracks into “racinos”. The bill goes on to stipulate that the State’s portion of the revenue be used exclusively for education.

On the surface, both sides’ opinions and arguments are seemingly valid and deserve the attention of the state’s legislative bodies. On one hand, you have those who hold the opinion that said legalization would prove beneficial to the State by providing a much-needed revenue source that would propel the State’s education system into the 21st century. Basically, that legalized gambling would bail out the State’s ailing education system.

On the other hand, you have those who feel that gambling or slots, whether at racetracks or otherwise, would bring an unwelcome criminal element to Maryland and have a detrimental effect on our residents-specifically the State’s younger residents. They basically feel that if the State legislature were to pass this piece of legislation through, that they would be promoting widespread moral decay by turning the residents of Maryland into compulsive, degenerate gamblers.

I am of the opinion that the long-term benefits of legalizing slots and/or gambling outweigh the cons.

One of the main arguments against the legalization of any form of gambling is that it invites a criminal element into the community. In theory, legalized gambling is made available to the public, the public gambles, people lose their money and go broke, and as a result turn to a life of crime to support their families and/or their gambling affliction. A community’s crime rate is bound to shoot up after the installation of any tourist attraction, e.g. a racino. While these racinos would attract predomi...

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...e of gaming legislation under the current administration, or we risk losing out on what may be the single greatest opportunity to upgrade our State that we have ever had.


Ø Hemphill, T. (2003) Video slot gaming in Maryland: Weighing the costs and benefits. Retrieved April 14,2004 from

Ø Hooke, J. & Firey, T. (2003) Legalizing video slot Gaming in Maryland: A business analysis. Retrieved April 14,2004 from

Ø Fahrenkopf Jr., F. (2002) Legalized Gambling Benefits Local Economies. Retrieved April 14, 2004 from Opposing Viewpoints database

Ø Greater Baltimore Committee (1997, February) GBC report on gaming: executive summary. Retrieved April 14, 2004, from

Ø Stitt, B. Grant & Giacopassi (2002, December 4) The Effect of Casino Gambling on Crime in New Casino Jurisdiction. Retrieved April 13, 2004 from

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