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Half Measures Not Enough in Maryland

20 February 2012 by Devon Chappell

Maryland is considering expanding its rather conservative gambling policy in an effort to create jobs and drum up much needed state revenue. The last major effort by the state legislator on this front was in 2007. At that time a vote passed the General Assembly to allow Maryland voters to decide if they felt the state would benefit from 15,000 slot machines. In 2008 voters said yes, but four years later it seems that slot machines may not be enough.

To compete with neighboring states that offer more than just slots, voices in the Maryland state legislator are now clamoring for an expanded policy that would allow for table games. That would certainly make Maryland casinos more attractive to local and visiting gamblers, but it would also, possibly even more importantly, create jobs. Slot machines of course do not require dealers as table games do. A single employee can maintain a floor of slot machines, while on the other hand, a floor of table games, like blackjack and craps for instance, would require many more individuals to run properly.

More than just the inadequacy of a slots only gambling policy, Maryland has suffered from poor implementation. The vote in 2008 allowed for up to 15,000 slot machines at five casinos. To date, less than 3,000 slot machines are actually working in the state.

There are more casinos on the way, like the one opening later this year in Anne Arundel County. But the feeling that seems to rule the day now is that the state won’t be able to generate the income it needs without an expanded gambling policy that would allow for table games. Of course, if the Maryland state legislator is truly serious about initiating a more aggressive gambling policy in order to help pay the bills, then it will surely consider developing an online gambling program as well.

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