Now Mike Miller Wants Slots in Prince Georges

Posted on January 19, 2010

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Not a single slot machine has been put in service in Maryland, and already Senate President Mike Miller is suggesting adding a casino in his home county, Prince Georges, according to  reports in the Washington Post and Baltimore Sun. This is the latest development in the slots fiasco in Maryland.

Voters OK’d 5 Slots Loations, None in PG

Doesn’t Mike Miller understand that the voters passed an amendment to the Maryland state constitution in 2008 specifically identifying five small, very well-defined locations where slots casinos can be established? None of those sites is in Prince Georges County. Prince Georges was never seriously considered for a slot-machine location, because Prince Georges County voters were against it.

Slots opponents in Maryland have always predicted that once gambling starts, it will expand to more locations, and casino table games will be added.

But the constitutional amendment is supposed to be set in stone. Additional gambling sites would require another constitutional amendment and another statewide referendum. What part of this doesn’t the venerable Senate president, Mike Miller, understand?  Or has Sen. Miller found a loophole?

Mike Miller thinks slot machines are needed to save Rosecroft Raceway. Miller proposes slots at Rosecroft, the National Harbor or an equestrian center in Upper Marlboro, all in Prince Georges.  The way things go with slots in Maryland, in the end Miller will want slots at all three places. Mike Miller might not be satisfied until there are slots in every convenience store in Prince Georges.

Progress Report on Slots Bids

To bring you up to date, the first slots casino had been expected to open by Memorial Day at Ocean Downs racetrack near Ocean City in Worcester County. But workers renovating  the ancient grandstand at Ocean Downs ran into enough asbestos to choke a horse, and that project is now on hold. No opening date in sight.

The backers of a big slots casino in Baltimore failed to put together the financing for their vague proposal. The state lost patience. There may never be slots in Baltimore, unless they want to do it at Pimlico.

There were no bidders for an authorized slots casino in Western Maryland.

The big enchilata is an unexpected proposal to put Maryland’s largest slots casino — 4,750 machines — at Arundel Mills mall. The mall property and Laurel Park racetrack are both within the same authorized slots area along the Baltimore-Washington Parkway in Anne Arundel County. The slots were supposed to be at Laurel, but the racetrack owners failed to come up with the deposit to back their slots bid. Enter the Cordish Cos. and Arundel Mills. The neighbors were surprised, but not delighted.

The Arundel Mills slots casino has received state approval, but it remains in limbo, awaiting a zoning vote by the Anne Arundel County Council.

One slots emporium is under construction near Interstate-95 in Cecil County. It might open  before the end of the year. Or not.

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