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Slots At The Mall: Deceptive Telemarketing

| October 02, 2010, 09:46 PM | 47 Comments

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I just received a call from Slots At The Mall. The woman, with a heavy southern accent identified herself as “Virginia” and asked if I woudl support a “No Vote” on Question A. She went through a standard pitch about how a “No Vote” will create jobs, keep slots out of the mall and make jobs for “hundreds” of firefighters and police.

While I had a real live person on the phone, I figured I would ask some questions.

JF: I am not too familiar with the issue but was going to study up on it. So they are actually going to put slots in the mall with all the stores?

VIRGINIA: Yes, sir.

JF: Where are they going to put them. I did not think the mall had too much more room to expand?

VIRGINIA: I don;t really know, but I guess there’s some empty stores that they are going to fill.

JF: So, voting no just takes the slots out of the mall and will have them built at the racetrack in Laurel?

VIRGINIA: Yes, sir. A “No Vote” will put the slots at a more appropriate place like the Laurel Racetrack.

JF: Wow, I need to read up on this I had heard that a “No Vote” would kill slots entirely and I certainly did not realize that they were filling empty space it the mall with slot machines.

VIRGINIA: Yes sir, that it right. And you can find out more information by visiting the website www.noslotsatthemall.com.

JF: Well, thanks for your time, I will have to look into this.

VIRGINIA: Well thank you sir. Do you plan to vote by mail?

JF: I am probably going to vote absentee.

VIRGINIA: Well thank you. This call has been paid for by No Slots At The Mall.

If their mailer ads are not deceptive enough, I guess they are now moving to phone banks of deception.

More Deception

Take the mailer received today.

Deceptive depiction of Arundel Mills Slots

From this image, one would draw the conclusion that the slot parlor will encroach on the actual mall, and that it will be nearly as large as the mall.  Well according to Simon Properties, the mall has 1,293,000 square feet.  The proposal calls for a 250,000 square foot slots parlor. Less than 1/5 the size of the entire mall.  Here is a mor accurate schematic:

Accurate location of proposes slots at Arundel Mills Mall

Does that look so threatening? It seems to be about the size of the movie theatre or the Bass Pro Shop. As for the exposure to the children, it is a 21 and over venue so they will not be able to walk right in. And what responsible parent would allow a child to roam the parking lots of Arundel Mills unsupervised? Maybe it would Kristal Wardell, the woman featured in the mailer from last week who claimed she would be terrified to leave her children at the mall.

It seems to me that there is more of a threat to children buy actually serving alcohol INSIDE of the mall. They can walk into any restaurant as a minor and if they get a “not so with it” server, they can drink the night away. Not so much at the slots parlor OUTSIDE of the mall which is a 21 and older venue–period.

The type of deceitful marketing the No Slots At The Mall people are doing is wrong! Maybe it is illegal. But in any event, it is doing the voters a disservice by passing along blatant misinformation.

The Facts:

  1. The slots parlor/casino is not going IN the mall. It is going in a separate building on the same general property as the mall.
  2. Children will not be exposed to the slots parlor/casino beyond seeing the building, signage, and lighting.
  3. There has not been any other qualified location (per MD Constitutional amendment) identified that can accept the slots parlor/casino in Anne Arundel County other than the location at Arundel Mills and Laurel Park.
  4. A “No Vote” will disallow slots at BOTH of those locations effectively killing slots for the county.

It does not matter if you are for or against slots. Vote for what you feel is the best solution for your own situation and the general good of the County. But, please be an informed voter and do not buy the rhetoric put forth by the No Slots At The Mall people without checking the facts.

Here’s your chance, below is the exact wording you will see on the ballot in November. Cast your vote!

Video Lottery Facilities are not permitted anywhere in Anne Arundel County under current zoning law. Bill 82-09 is a zoning bill and was enacted for the purpose of allowing a Video Lottery Facility as a conditional use in a W-1 Industrial Park zoning district or at a Regional Commercial Complex. Vote “For Bill 82-09” if you want Bill 82-09 to take effect. Vote “Against Bill 82-09” if you do not want bill 82-09 to take effect.

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Category: Entertainment, LIFE IN THE AREA, NEWS, OPINION

About the Author - John Frenaye

John is the publisher and editor of Eye On Annapolis. As a resident and business owner in Anne Arundel County for nearly 25 years, he realized that there was something missing in terms of community news–and Eye On Annapolis was born in late spring 2009.

John’s background is in the travel industry as a business owner, industry speaker, and travel writer. In terms of blogging and social media, he cut his teeth with MSNBC.com.

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Comments (47)

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  1. Barbara says:

    The whole thing in nutshell is just what you said John DECEPTION!
    I received a pamphlet in the mail on Thursday, you know what it says? That the owners at Charlestown in WVA are funding a lot of the confusing and deceptive advertisements going around about the slots. I threw it away so I can’t quote the MILLIONS of MD dollars they will lose and MD/ AA county will gain if they are voted in.

    I can’t believe that some people prefer to sit and listen to other peoples propaganda instead of finding out for themselves what it is all about. It’s about the state and the county losing out on millions of dollars, and who knows how many jobs will come with it. With unemployment, homelessness, and welfare roles at an all time high, it sort of sounds like a no-brainer. And no I don’t live by the mall, but if I did, I would still not be against slots.
    Vote yes for Bill 82-09!
    Barb

  2. tom says:

    John, do you know who first said slots were going in the mall? Cordish’s engineer. Here is a link to their site development plan. (second sentence of the 4th page of the file). “The casino is located in the existing Arundel Mills Mall.”

    http://stopslotsatamm.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/Maryland_Live_Site_Development_Plan.274154655.xps

    Once you read the letter you can go on to see the image of the area where the casino will be built. Here is an enhansed color image:

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=31433243&o=all&op=1&view=all&subj=49493650185&aid=-1&id=1533996127&oid=49493650185

    The casino in the Cordish site development plan is much largere than in their campaign literature. So, I would ask your readers to do their own research and not take your biased word.

  3. tom says:

    Andm OBTW, your fact #3 is incorrect. The bill rezoned all W-1 land over 50 acres in Anne Arundel County. Again, I emplore your readers to do their own research and not take your word.

  4. tom says:

    And a new slots zoning bill could be passed by the county council in less than a month. Daryl Jones said it would probably be the first order of business should Question A fail.

  5. John Frenaye says:

    I cannot open your first link. I do realize that architectural drawings are not construction drawings so there is some give and take there for sure. But how do you (in your own biased word) explain my conversation with “Virginia” and the other deceptive advertising that has been sent out? You say there are other locations to house slots in the County. Please name one. You continue to allude that slots will be in the mall. You talk about traffic, yet you say nothing about the garage and highway improvements that are part of the plan. The rhetoric about security has been quelled a bit but in all honestly the mall is a very dangerous place as it is right now. If Cordish comes in, it will be safer. Do you really think he will allow the AMM thugs to mug his customers as they leave his slots parlor?

    And of course the question remains—why was it OK in 2008 when the residents of that district voted in favor of slots?

  6. John Frenaye says:

    How is it incorrect? State constitution says it must be within 2 miles of MD 295. I implore you to name a parcel of land in excess of 50 acres that falls within the state mandated limits.

  7. Barbara says:

    You know my Mother is 71, has Azheimers, and she said to me today…lol, Barbara why are these people so upset? I was reading about the slots. They voted for them, then it looks like they didn’t like the people who were building it so now they don’t want it? is that right? She actually understood more about what she was reading than most of the people I have heard or seen talking or screaming about it!
    Barb

  8. John Frenaye says:

    Ask Daryl where they will put the slots then. Remember this is an election year and politician have been known to say whatever the voter du jour wants to hear. And really, it took the council two years to pass the zoning bill as it was, now you think that it will be a done deal in a month? They legalized marijuana in California, not Maryland, not sure what you are smoking.

  9. tom says:

    Bill 82-09: http://www.aacounty.org/CountyCouncil/Resources/2009/82-09.pdf

    As for the properties within 2 miles of 295: BWI Aerotropolis, Arundel gateway, Arundel Overlook, and many more….shall I go on?

  10. tom says:

    Heffner & Weber floats alternate site to Cordish Co. for Arundel slots parlor

    http://baltimore.bizjournals.com/baltimore/stories/2009/11/02/daily10.html

  11. tom says:

    Many of the residents closest to the mall did not live there then. Cordish said 63 residential residential units were within 1/2 mile of the mall when at the time he submited the bid there were over 2100.

  12. tom says:

    I emailed you the site development plan to [email protected]

  13. tom says:

    And for traffic, they are going to add a net of 2400 spaces because they will lose 4,000 that currently exist. This is supposed to be a 4,750 slot machine parlot with six live entertainement venues. And, obtw, their traffic study assumed no one would take the Arundel Mills Blvd exit off of Rt 295! Please help me get an answer from them as to why.

  14. John Frenaye says:

    Dude, BWI may be in there too, but it is not available! The zoning ordinance addresses security, lighting, noise, access, infrastructure, and more. Honestly, it addresses most, if not all, of the concerns of the NSATM people.

    The TRUE issue is that your (I presume you live in the area) district was a bunch of apathetic voters in 2008 and either did not bother to a)read the question or b)did not care enough to come out and vote against it.

    It is ironic that you come here now telling the readers of this site to do due diligence–how was that concept lost on the 56% of voters in the that district who voted in favor of the slots in 2008? The limits of placement were VERY clear in Question 2. Now it has become a NIMBY issue and is costing taxpayers who knows how much money while you have voters remorse.

    And somehow, I think the stabbings, shootings, and muggings that are happening up there regularly might have a more detrimental impact on the quality of life (or death) in the area than consenting adults playing the slot machines.

  15. tom says:

    No, your being ignorant. BWI Aerotropolis is NOT the airport. It is a parcel of land right next to the BWI rail station, and it is over 50 acres within 2 miles of Rt 295. You have been in the tank for cordish since day one, so I know I will never win you over. I just want your readers not to just get the Cordish cool-aid.

  16. John Frenaye says:

    Cordish has said he will not consider another location. There are no other alternative responsive bidders. That is his choice for sure, but is Aerotropolis looking to develop a slots parlor as well?

  17. John Frenaye says:

    OK so most of the residents closest to the mall were not living there in 2008? Yet knowing that the slots were likely coming to the location, they bought anyway and hoped to be able to stop them? This is exactly like the construction of the Blue Route in PA. It was on the books for decades and clearly spelled out to everyone but never was built. And the day came to build it and all hell broke loose.

  18. John Frenaye says:

    The plan calls for 1 spot for every two seats so with 4750 they need to put in 2375. They exceed it if your number is correct

  19. Barbara says:

    Amazing, everything you have argued about was addressed in the bill. It would seem that you think a full blown casino is going in here. It is slots, not Atlantic City. Have you been to Charlestown?? The area is a mixture of residential and commerial like Annapolis. Very nice area. No Donald Trump, no black jack, …etc. slots. Maybe you are confused about what it is?

  20. John Frenaye says:

    I did not say it was the airport. I said BWI may be in the two mile zone and that it is not available. Not for sale. No way to buyu the airport and put in slots. There are parcels that meet the requirement, but to my knowledge, they are not available. If it is not available, it is not available and you cannot build on them. And Cordish said that this was the location he was willing to build.

    So with no other responsive bidder in the county, and no other available parcel, the no vote kills slots. The state woudl bneed to rebid the licenses, award it again, and then back at square one…all based on the big IF that a parcel is available.

  21. John Frenaye says:

    OK, heading up for the night, we can continue this debate on Monday. I am in Philly tomorrow for some Football.

  22. Barbara says:

    It’s definitely going to be a huge make or break battle for a lot of people. Politicians, contractors, and for the county.
    The people in Hanover have been lazy in there duty to vote and find out about what the plan is for their area. Which they can do before purchasing a home btw.
    But things also could have been explained better than they were or are even now. It is still confusing to a lot of people. Unfortunately most people only talk about what they feel is right instead of what is best….

  23. Fred Shubbie® says:

    Both sides are being less than honest in this matter. I saw a sign the other day that said ” Safer Streets ? . Vote YES on Question A” . I was not aware that Question A asked: ” Do you want safer streets ? ” Just the other day I was told it would make the firemen happy. Both sides need to cut the nonsense. We need to simply inform the public EXACTLY question A is asking. The rest is corporate BS.

  24. John Frenaye says:

    Certainly it is not the question, but it could be a byproduct. As to firemen being happy…hey, part of the money will go to new equipment and reducing the need for furloughs, etc–albeit in a trickle down manner, so they got the endorsement of the cops and firefighters.

  25. John says:

    They got the endorsement of the UNION leadership. There was no general membership votes. Leopold strong armed them into supporting him and slots at the mall.

    I recieved an email from the Cordish people stating “the media is on our side.” It looks like you are part of that media John.

  26. John Frenaye says:

    In all honesty, I don’t have a horse in the race (pardon the pun) as I am not in to slots. But from day one, the stop slots people have been slightly deceptive…from the signature gathering (and yes I know they had enough, but look at how many were disallowed) and the conversation I had the other noght. If I felt deceived by the pro-slots people, I would also opine there, but so far, they seem to be playing a bit more by the rules.

  27. Fred Shubbie®™© says:

    You know John, I remember when those No Slots people would aggressively accost me in various grocery store parking lots–there was a certain slimey feeling that would creep up my spine. I told them,, ” I don’t like slots and I don’t like arundel mills, they deserve each other.” And told them I was grateful that slots has already create a job, an entire industry–little did I know that slots and no slots has already employed thousands in a well-funded PR machine. Sign makers and installers, printing companies, phone centers, neuro-linguistic experts, pollsters . strategists, lawyers, T-Shirt makers, printers and distributers……..on and on and on …and yet still I don’t care about slots and I don’t care about Arundel Mills. What’s my point ?

    Oh yeah, I hate the Slots ( jobs and revenue) PR machine so much I had forgotten my initial reaction to the No Slots parking lot stalkers. And when they started with the fear mongering and morality plays I realized this is a very desperate, very eager, very well funded organization attempting to avoid the real question. That Question A is a zoning bill–not a jobs bill, not a education program, no guarantee of longer hoses for our firemen–it is a zoning bill–plain and simple.

    What a waste of time and energy. Vote MAYBE on QUestion A!!! send a message.

  28. John says:

    I have to agree with Fred. I can not drive more that a half a mile down Rt 3 without one of those blasted blue signs.I am certainly not happy with the delay. However, I see it as mainly the state’s fault (Don Fry and friends), and partially Cordish’s fault. Why did they not gentily persuade him to find a more suitable location? And what about the game of chicken they played with the County Council? The lesson, when you want something badly you generally get it exactly as you wanted it…badly.

    Its a bit ironic…Bobby Neill, formerly of the slots commission (his wife is now a lobbyst for the Mall – so he had to quit) predicted lawsuits if they granted a license before the zoning was in place. Then, he voted to give the license before the zoning was in place. And, his prediction was correct, there were lawsuits.

  29. Joyce D says:

    Don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble here, but have any one of you who support these slots at Arundel Mills Mall ever tried to get out of that parking lot around the holidays? It’s a nightmare already. It takes about a 1/2 an hour or more just to get out of that parking lot. Can you imagine what it’s going to be like when they put the slots in? I can only see more congestion within the parking lot itself, not to mention the nearby AACC college. Who’s to say that the money will go to schools like the politicians say that it will. The politicians will always say what you want to hear, then re-delegate the money where they want it to go.

  30. John Frenaye says:

    Joyce–AACC is not in session for most of the holiday season and yes traffic will be an issue, but there are requirements for access and egress to both 100 and 295 from the casino directly. And of course you need to look at traffic patterns. Will the gamblers be coming and going at the same time?

  31. David says:

    I would agree that “Vote for Question A” side is being overly optimistic with their claims, but will slots at the mall generate jobs and revenue for the County and State YES. The anti-slots campaign is boardering on fraud in their they are giving the impression that if Question A fails slots will simply go to Laurel that is not correct. For slots to goto Laurel the County Counsel will have to pass a zoning bill to allow it, the state slots law will need to be changed to allow Penn National to own an interest in more then one slots facility, or Penn National would have to sell it’s interest in Laurel or Perryville. This assumes that Penn National isn’t just supporting the No Slots at the Mall campaign to block this area from getting slots to protect Charlestown. I wouldn’t want slots next to my house either, but I wouldn’t have bought a house next ot Arundel Mills mall either.

  32. Barbara says:

    John,
    You could tell these folks that it is going to be an enclosed building, only accessible off of 100, and that there will be no ability for the traffic or the people to get to the mall or anywhere but back to 100, and I still don’t think it would make a difference. They are going to believe the worst, because they are scared, and uninformed except for what they read. They do not get involved, so then they feel everyone is out to “get” them. It’s very sad that the county/state will lose out if they really vote no for the slots….
    Barb

  33. Mary says:

    Cordish is boardering on fraud by saying ‘now or never’ and there will be no slots in Anne Arundel County if voters vote down his casino. Slots are coming, its just a question of where.

  34. John Frenaye says:

    Ho so Mary? The Gaming Commission said they woudl not revoke his license. There is only one license for AA County. Unless he sells it or withdraws, it seems like he is calling the shots. Penn National cannot get the license because of the casino they just opened in Cecil County. THe owners of the track were non-responsive.

    If the zoning is overturned, the stars will need to align perfectly for it to happen. 1–an available parcel of land will need to be identified in accordance with state law. 2–it will need to be zoned (or changed) to allow slots. 3–Cordish will have to be willing to buy it and develop it or sell the license. 4—If Cordish give up the license, there needs to be a viable developer–and from the last time there were two–Cordish and Magna (who ultimately was non-responsive. 5–Other possibilities exist like changing the state constitution again–will need to wait till 2012 for the question to appear on the ballot.

    So, it is not fraud–it is real.

    I just watched an interview where No Slots At The Mall refused to comment (interesting) about the plans for Laurel calling for retail shopping adjacent to the track.

  35. Fred Shubbie®™© says:

    Good thing nothing like this could ever happen here : http://www2.wrbl.com/mgmedia/file/177/public-corruption-indictments/

    Money makes people do bad things I guess, but not here.

  36. Mary says:

    No. Not true John. Don Fry of the Video Lottery Location Commission said they would rebid once a new zoning bill is in place.

  37. Mary says:

    And the no slots people are Anne Arundel County residents. Why would they comment on some other casino they have no interest in. Cordish is trying to portray them as perpetrating some corperate conspiracy theory because they took corperate money. Truth is if they did not have MJC’s money they would have no voice.

  38. Barbara says:

    You know this is bordering on ridiculous. The fact is that even in Arundel Mills ” neighborhoods” the newspaper is showing crime. Murder, robbery, molestation, rape, oh and by the way drugs are just as bad in the “nicer” neighborhoods because they can afford it. Why do you think the dealers are over there?? duh.. My point is that slot venue isn’t going to make one bit of difference to your neighborhood.
    All the crime is at the mall area. If the people in that area havent figured out yet to use Ridge Rd. or whatever other back roads to get around the Arundel Mills traffic..shame on you. What will you gain by keeping the slots out of that parking lot?? Peace of mind? I don’t think so… Because all of the crime is still there. Security will be doubled maybe tripled after the venue is up. And why do you care how many parking spots there are? They sure as hell are not going to park in front of your house and walk to it!
    The whole thing is out of control.. It is a money maker, and we should be grabbing it and getting it up as fast as we can before someone changes their mind.
    Do you know what Balto.City would do to be able to have this opportunity??? To be able to have this influx money. My God.. and AA county is way better off then they are. Need to stop the bitching about something that is not going be “in your back yard” and get on with life.

  39. Joyce D says:

    If they have a direct traffic pattern flowing into and out of the new parking garage separately and not from the Mall parking lot, then I am good with that. It would make it easier access for everyone, including the people coming in to play slots. I’m looking at the big picture here, not just the Mall shoppers and the AACC community.

  40. John Frenaye says:

    I am sure it is not EXCLUSIVE. Meaning that people will still be able to access the parking garage via the mall parking lot without having to go on 295 or 100

  41. John Frenaye says:

    I guess this begs the question–why are they funded by a casino that is not in the state or county? Certainly Penn National has a lot to gain by a Cordish loss.

  42. John Frenaye says:

    I need to go look at the statement again, but I believe he said he woudl not rescind the license if Cordish lost and woudl only do so if and when a new viable alternative was in place. THAT means finding the location, finding a developer, possibly changing state law again (minimum 2012 election), and then having the county either re-zone or exempt the current zoning to allow it. If the No Slots At The Mall people are successful and the zoning is denied, and IF all the cards fall perfectly, we might see a slots place under constructiion in late 2013 and possibly opening in 2014. But, that is asking for alot of cards to fall in place just as planned. We see how well they landed with this debacle.

  43. David says:

    John according the article in Saturdays Maryland Gazette Fry said that if Question A fails the State Lottery Commission wouldn’t do anything until Anne Arundel County resolves the zoning issue. This issue alone could take until the 2012 election if there is another petition fight over zoning. Then if the site is Laurel then State law would need to be changed, which would take until 2014.

  44. Rita B says:

    So Tom, you stated that the people who live around Arundel Mills now did not live there when slots were approved? Sounds like some homeowners didn’t do THEIR due diligence before they bought where they did -now they are asking the rest of the county to sacrifice because of their bad choice… Not like anyone was concealing the fact that Arundel Mills would be the location of a gambling parlor…
    I will be voting “yes” for slots AGAIN.

  45. Micki says:

    I seem to recall some major baby whining when they were going to build Arundel Mills. The residents now consider it a community recreation location to go there with their families?
    I never go to Arundel Mills because of the lack of security, and the multiple reports of crime on the property of the mall, especially around the holidays. There is nothing there that you cannot get elsewhere.

    It seems to me that if there were a slots casino that it would pull more people to the mall, people would spend more money, which would then bring more jobs (i.e., security) to make it a safer place for the family types.

    I think people just need something to complain about in their boring lives…move on. I think a lot of the people complaining don’t even shop at that mall. And, it is not like it is the only option to them. If you don’t like it, shop elsewhere.

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