March 23, 2023
Annapolis, US 51 F

No Referendum For Slots

For now, it looks like slots will be coming to the Arundel Mills Mall area. Until the project lands in court again.

From The Baltimore Sun:

An Anne Arundel County Circuit Court judge struck down a ballot referendum against slots at Arundel Mills mall Friday, a decision that opponents have vowed to appeal to the state’s highest court.

According to Judge Ronald A. Silkworth, the legislation that grants zoning rights for Baltimore-based Cordish Cos. to construct a casino on the mall parking lot is part of an appropriation package, which according to state law, cannot be put to referendum.

“[The zoning bill] is an interdependent and legally inseparable piece of an appropropriation package for maintaining state and local government and, therefore, is not subject to referendum,” Silkworth wrote.

Lawyers for the Maryland Jockey Club, which has waged war to stop the project, say the legal battle isn’t over.

Alan Rifkin, an attorney for the jockey club and two community opposition groups, said he was “confident” his side would be successful on appeal.

“When the people voted in 2008 to allow slots facilities they did so with a clear understanding that those facilities were subject to all planning and zoning laws,” Rifkin said. “There has been no appropriation of any revenue from a slots facility yet in the state that would prevent [the question] from being placed on the ballot.”

Rifkin also represents the groups Citizens Against Slots at the Mall and Stop Slots at Arundel Mills.

PPE Casino Resorts Maryland LLC, a subsidiary of Cordish, sued the county election board earlier this year, alleging fraud on the part of the signature collectors.

“The court’s ruling today is a tremendous victory for the taxpayers of Maryland in general and Anne Arundel County in particular,” said Joseph Weinberg, a managing member at PPE . “Our facility at Arundel Mills will generate hundreds of millions of dollars in new taxes for the State and County, when these funds are urgently needed. Between construction and permanent jobs, our facility at Arundel Mills will create thousands of new, quality jobs at a time when they are desperately needed.”

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  1. I really find this amazing.. Citizens want to have it in AA county for the money it can bring in but not in their neighborhood. Granted they could probably have found a place farther away from residential areas. However with BWI, and Ft. Meade so close as well as I-95 Arundel Mills does make sense. If the politicians want it there guess what? It’s gonna go up…

  2. Personally I agree Barbara. The language was clear on the initial referendum. The majority of the people who voted in the Arundel Mills area were in favor of it. Yes, most everyone thought the likely spot was Laurel, but that was not the language. I would love to know if the staunch opponents of slots actually voted in 2008 or if they were part of the majority who don;t vote.

  3. I think the voters get what they deserve and that Arundel Mills is an ideal location for what the voter’s want. Personally, I think slots are goofy and will drag people further into poverty and will be in effect a regressive tax capable of further devastating the already devastated — I would have preferred to see our governors push for the legalization and promotion of the marijuana industry. But we are after all a southern state with the capital in the middle of Mayberry ; We will get there one day.

    Silkworth’s ruling will stand and he should be applauded for his non-political application of the law.

    This is also a teachable moment for voters in Maryland—THINK about that for which you VOTE !!!!

    Arun. Mills is already an overblown, gaudy , shrine to capitalism and conspicuous consumerism and is already set up to handle the traffic flow. Most people I know would never want to live in an area like that anyway, and those that live there now will not notice the difference–with the exception of a few new pawn shops, and maybe a touch of prostitution .

  4. Fred I agree. But I am not so sure the opponents actually VOTED–much less thought about it. I suspect they had a “it’s not happening in my backyard so what do I care?” attitude and then when they realized that they did not read the amendment, they all became “NIMBYs”.

  5. Some snarky comments going on here, and a lot of guessing of what the people around the mall are like. They’re actually just a snap-shot of Maryland, just like you and me.

    Slots were sold as something to save the racetracks and now they’re being marketed as something to save us from this economic meltdown. If you buy into hype the pro-casino people are selling, you’re just a fool. I’m not against slots, but they should be put in the right place, they shouldn’t be put inbetween 3 residentual neighborhoods. Maybe you think the area sucks anyway, but they might say the same thing about where you live. The lack of empathy on this issue is amazing.

    I also find this talk of people learning from this event rather amusing. If there’s one thing voters don’t do, it’s learn from their mistakes (I think certain politicans have noted that voters have short memories, but I can’t think of the correct referrance). We either fix things now, or hand our sloppy decisions over to our kids to deal with.

  6. Snarky??? I am sure the residents around AMM are probably very nice people. However if they didn’t pay attention to what was going on in their back yard why are they bitchin’ about it now is all I am saying.

    Honestly I don’t remember hearing that the slots were to save the racetracks. They would have done a lot for the racetrack if it went there but I always thought that it was for the state coffers, education, etc.

    My empathy goes to those who need it, like the hungry, the homeless, those who could use help from the people who live around AMM. Hmmm maybe some of the casino money could go towards that.. I have to look into that!

  7. @Barbara – It sounds like you weren’t paying attention either. You don’t remember hearing about slots as a reason to save the horse racing industry? A big reason for having slots is to save the horse racing industry. That’s why a portion of the money they make (no matter where the casino is located) goes to the horse racing industry (it’s around 10% of the proceeds). You can read it from the horse’s mouth yourself:

    And yes, you probably should look into more things, because your comments are uneducated. Lastly, if you think empathy is something give to the downtrodden, you don’t know what empathy is.

  8. Well thanks for that article … I appreciate it. However I do remember in the beginning when everyone ASSUMED that they would put the slots in a racetrack. So of course then it was going to save the industry even if it only went to one place?? Whatever.. The story has changed soooo many times that I dont think very many people really know what the reasoning is behind the slots are anymore. They only know they dont want them after they yes or they didnt vote at all. Its too late its done and they are going in….

    I’m sorry you think I sound uneducated, I think you sound rude but I do respect your opinion. I will leave the empathy part alone because I can see that will be a losing battle and long one at that….

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