The office of the Attorney General of the state of Maryland is adamant in the belief that the wording of the ballot summary of a slot machine referendum should be left as-is. A press release issued from Annapolis last Friday announced that the AG had filed court documents insisting that the lawsuit brought by slot game opponents was baseless. A coalition of the state’s anti-slot machine activists are trying to change the ballot language wording that was originally written by the Secretary of State, and approved by the lawmakers of the General Assembly.
The anti-slot machine faction insists that the crucial issue of where slot game proceeds will go is not sufficiently spelled out by the current ballot language. The language describing what would become the newest amendment to the Maryland state constitution currently mentions that slot machine proceeds would fund education. While it is true that just under half of the profits would go towards educational efforts, the remaining money would go towards lottery maintenance, horse racing prizes, and the owners and operators of these unpopular gambling machines. The slots opponents argue that this is a critical oversight. The Attorney General’s office retorts that the suit is baseless, as the ballot language is fundamentally correct and as comprehensive as possible, given the 100-word limit on ballot summaries. The current referendum ballot wording was drafted by the Department of Legislative Services, a nonpartisan entity.
If approved by voters, the referendum would clear the way for the installation of some fifteen thousand slot machines in Maryland in five different, pre-approved locations. Lawmakers estimate that, once the machines are up and running (a process that would take a few years), the machines could bring in upwards of six hundred million dollars a year, and create hundreds of new jobs.