February 8, 2023
Annapolis, US 60 F

What Don’t They Get?

Row of slot machines inside Las Vegas airport.
Image via Wikipedia

Slot Opponents Just Don’t Get It?

Last week we talked about the vast numbers of rejected names on the recent petition drive to overturn the County Council’s approval of slot machines. It seemed the NIMBYs were having voter’s remorse.

Last night, The Capital reported,  that Cordish had filed a suit alleging voter fraud against the two NIMBY groups behind the petition.  The spokesman for Citizens Against Slots at the Mall, Heather Ford, said:

It is another misdirection play attempting to deprive the citizens of Anne Arundel County (of) the right to vote on this important matter.

And in the Washington Post, they reported that the State’s Attorney has already referred the issue to the State’s Prosecutor. Steve Rabinowitz, a spokesperson for FieldWorks (a professional political organization hired to gather signatures) claimed there was no merit.

This lawsuit has no merit. This issue is headed for the ballot, and these fabricated allegations will not deter the will of the citizens of Anne Arundel County.

News Flash

Perhaps Ms. Ford was not aware that the citizens of Anne Arundel County were already given the opportunity to vote for this “important matter.” And perhaps Mr. Rabinowitz was unaware that the issue already was on the ballot.

The wording on the ballot was very clear and precise. In fact, it was changed to be more clear and precise weeks before the election.

Authorizes the State to issue up to five video lottery licenses for the primary purpose of raising revenue for education of children in public schools, prekindergarten through grade 12, public school construction and improvements, and construction of capital projects at community colleges and higher education institutions. No more than a total number of 15,000 video lottery terminals may be authorized in the State, and only one license may be issued for each specified location in Anne Arundel, Cecil, Worcester, and Allegany Counties, and Baltimore City. Any additional forms or expansion of commercial gaming in Maryland is prohibited, unless approved by a voter referendum.

And as it pertains to Anne Arundel County:

Video lottery operation license may be awarded only for a video lottery facility in one of the following locations in the State:
(1) Anne Arundel County, within 2 miles of MD Route 295;

The results certainly show that the voters overwhelmingly approved the initiative on the state level. But when you drill down some more, the voters in the local results showed an even greater support than the state.

Statewide: 2,525,424 votes cast
Statewide: 1,482,295 voted in favor (58.7%)
Countywide: 253,418 votes cast
Countywide: 149,604 voted in favor (59%)
District 1: 27,350 votes cast
District 1: 17,152 voted in favor (62.7%)
District 4: 33,045 votes cast
District 4: 19,716 voted in favor (59.7%)
Notes: The area defined by the ballot is almost entirely in these two districts. District 1 did not have a single precinct vote against slots; the highest percentage for slots was 72% and the lowest for slots was 53.51%. In District 4, only two precincts voted against slots and ironically enough it was the one at Russett. The percentages for slots ranged from a low of 44.39% to a high of 67.98%

The election has happened. Statewide, Countywide, and Districtwide, the voters spoke very clearly in support of slots. Our County Council delayed any action on this until they were forced to make a decision and they made a decision in line with the wishes of the voters. So if Ms. Ford would be so kind, we would appreciate how she feels the voters missed out on their right to vote on this matter. And to Mr. Rabinowitz, please explain how the will of the voters was not addressed the first time around?

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3 Comments

  1. John,

    I think it is not that people have a fundamental problem with slots in AA County, I think that it is probably a large majority of the people who voted in favor of slots were under the impression that it was the Laurel location, and not Arundel Mills Mall. I think it is the process and not the execution people take issue with. There are a number of reasons the Laurel facility is more appealing then the mall location, not of the least is that the success, and future, of Laurel race track depends on the addition of slots. I have no problem with slots fundamentally, and most of the anti-slots argument fall into my “it is not the governments job to protect you from yourself” category. Where I take issue is that the council did not have a spine and left this decision to the whim of the County Executive. I think if you were able to poll many AA voters that supported the slot referendum, despite the verbiage, this was not the plan they voted in support of. Just my two cents.

    Devin

  2. I completely agree with you and told several County Council members last fall to s&%t or get off the pot. They were a disappointment as elected leaders and an even bigger disappointment when ultimately they figured a way “out” of making the decision–securing their seats in the Council perhaps?

    BUT, who’s fault is it that the people in the IMPACTED DISTRICTS did not care enough in November 2008 to read and understand a very clearly worded ballot? A first grader can take a ruler and lay it on a map to see where the boundaries lay? Legally, they could have lost their homes if the State/County wanted to take them and seize them by eminent domain. Granted, not likely.

    The issue is that everyone assumed that Laurel was the ONLY place for them (and to be honest it is probably the right place for them) and voted NIMBY. That was naive and stupid. Period. In PA, the Blue Rout (I-476) was partially completed from King of Prussia to Conshohocken. The final routing was up in the air for literally 30 years. The state was dickering with three distinct routes. Finally, the blue route (the other two were yellow and green–trivia for the night) was chosen and boy did the people who had bought homes in the area pitch a fit. But you know what? The possibility existed for years. If they chose to ignore the possibility, is that the fault of the state?

    Now that they realize it was naive and stupid, they are doing what they can to overturn what they themselves voted in favor. This is voter’s remorse. Pure and simple. My beef is not with slots or even the location. My beef is that we voted them in and the Council screwed around and did nothing. And now when the decision (as bizarre as it was) comes down, all of a sudden some people claim to say “oh wait, that was not what we (or any of the other voters) meant when we said you could build a slot parlor in this area–we meant in another area.

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