Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

No Jackpot for States in Slots

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

No Jackpot for States in Slots

Article excerpt

The State of Maryland projects a $1.2 billion budget shortfall this year. Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R) wants the legislature to approve slot machines at racetracks and shore up revenues with an estimated $800 million a year in new gambling profits.

Maryland's decision is being closely watched, as it may be a bellwether for other states that are in similar straits to, well, follow suit.

Some 16 states have gaming expansion legislation pending. Last November, gambling initiatives were on the ballot in six states; they passed in four. Eight states already have approved slots at racetracks. No wonder; the gambling industry is one of the fastest- growing financial contributors to political campaigns. Governor Ehrlich himself accepted more than $100,000 from the gaming industry.

But this quick-fix promise of new money without new taxes is a false one. It feeds an addiction, both for the gambler and for the states that can quickly become dependent on such income.

Antigambling activists rightly point out that personal bankruptcy rates go up 14 percent within a 50-mile radius of casinos. …

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