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Ocean City Convinced that Slot Machines Will Bring Problem to their Area

On August 16th, 2007, the beach resorts in Ocean City, Maryland announced their opposition to slot machines with the visit of strong slots supporter Gov. Martin O'Malley and the rest of the state officials to town for the Maryland Association of Counties.

Ocean City Chamber of Commerce and slots critic Peter Franchot decided on the spot to block gaming expansion not just in their own town but everywhere in the state. Ocean City Mayor Richard W. Meehan said that the talks over the slot machines continue in Annapolis, his community will take a firm stance against the threat of slot machines.

The business proprietors in the area are against the proposal of offering slot machines to Ocean Downs Racetrack, a horse racing track located in Ocean City but they also believe that offering slot machines anywhere in the state is also a big problem. Business owners said that the tourists, instead of spending their money in boardwalk business establishments will instead spend their cash in tribal owned casinos.

Business leaders and political officials have longed criticize the slot machines but they plan to widen their company now that Gov. O'Malley has said that he is likely to endorse the slots plan at the racing tracks.

Lenny Berger, the owner of the Clarion Hotel and other beach front businesses, is the head of the town's economic development commission. He said that it is more advisable to raise taxes and remodel the state's tax system than allow the slot machines.

Thomas E. Perez, the governor's secretary of labor licensing and regulation issued a study stating that the horse racing industry of Maryland is worth saving because most residents in the area work in the racing tracks and tracks provide an open area for horse farms.

Perez also said that the subsidies for horse racing purses provided by slots profits from the state of Delaware, West Virginia and Pennsylvania makes it hard for the racing tracks in Maryland to compete without featuring slot machines too.

The arguments stated by O'Malley and the state officials were almost the same arguments made by ex Gov. Robert Ehrlich Jr. in his own attempt to offer the slot machines in the state.

County officials from the biggest counties in Maryland recently met with state Budget Secretary T. Eloise Foster who told the officials that the administration has made good progress regarding drafting their revenue generating proposals for the state.

The county officials said that the state Budget Secretary did not give them a lot of details but said that Gov. would announce additional details at the right time.

Franchot said that he told the business owners in Ocean City that despite the endorsement from Gov. O'Malley, the slot machines proposal are not finalized.

Criticism of expanded gaming is significant in the Democratic dominated House of Representatives and Franchot said that intense lobbying effort from all over the state can block the slot machines proposal again.


Thursday, 11 October 2007
Theo Evans