Comptroller Contests Slots Suitability

Comptroller Contests Slots Suitability

Maryland State Comptroller Peter Franchot apparently spoke at the University of Maryland/College Park yesterday, criticizing the proposal to permit slot machines championed by Governor Martin O’Malley. I say “apparently” because the “Diamondback Online” link is broken.

The slot question will be decided by Maryland voters in a November 2008 referendum.

Mr. Franchot was recently interviewed by Len Lazarick of the Baltimore Examiner and said his opposition to slots is fiscal, not moral:

I believe when the facts are brought out that slots are bad for state economies, the public will vote slots down as the wrong direction to be going. Except for Nevada, every other state, the data shows that crime increases and the social costs more than offset any revenue.

This would not be Maryland’s first experience with slot machines.

Sparing no expense, NotionsCapital commissioned a well-known artist to render this impression of an historic racetrack if the referendum passes:

At the Maryland Races - Manet

Image by “Fast Eddie” Manet and Mike “Lefty” Licht. You gotta problem with that?

7 Responses to “Comptroller Contests Slots Suitability”

  1. kstafford Says:

    If they don’t pass the slots bill – you can kiss Pimlico and the Preakness goodbye.

    I fail to see the connection with crime and slots. Anyone else find it laughable that a city with liquor stores on every urban street corner is suddenly concerned about increased crime? If this state cared at all about increased crime, they may be paying closer attention to the Zach Sowers case, or looking to throw the book at the school bus bullies in the highly publicized incident that occurred in Baltimore a few weeks ago. The sad fact is that the vicitims of the assaults in these cases are almost paralyzed in pursuing their attackers because of how handcuffed the justice system in Baltimore is due to it’s insanely ultra-liberal “criminal rights first!” policies. These people don’t care about cime.

    These are the same people that after demonizing the slots bill presented by Erlich later retracted and said they didn’t have enough information to make an informed decision.

    It’ll be a sad, sad day if the Preakness ever moves to Florida or California. At this point though, if I were Magna Entertainment, I’d move it. I hope it never happens, but I think it’s ultimately a foregone conclusion. What a shame…..Seabiscuit, War Admiral, Secretariat….the list of esteemed horses that have run there goes on and on, and in my humble opinion Old Hilltop had never looked so beautiful as it did during last year’s Preakness day.

  2. Mike Licht Says:

    Get in touch in Maryland State Comptroller Peter Franchot, who is probably looking at statistical studies like this one that show crime stays steady or declines when gambling is first introduced, then ramps up. Five years after gambling is introduced, “8.6% of the observed property crime and 12.6% of the violent crimes in casino counties are due to casinos” and “between 5.5% and 30% of the different crimes in casino counties can be attributed to casinos.”

    Add to that “social costs related to casinos, such as crime in neighboring counties, direct regulatory costs, costs related to employment and lost productivity, and social service and welfare costs” and Mr. Franchot’s position is completely understandable.

    Casinos everywhere except Las Vegas are losing money — check the business pages. Why is Las Vegas doing well? It has re-positioned itself as a family vacation destination.

    I agree it would be a shame to lose Pimlico. It puzzles me why Maryland racetracks do not really ally themselves with the 30,000 horse fanciers and equestrians they cite when they argue for the impact of their sport. That would take a page from the Las Vegas book and make historic racetracks into family destinations.

  3. kstafford Says:

    Good points. I admittedly wasn’t familiar with some of those studies. When i stop and think of it, Saratoga is the best track there is, and that’s more of “family destination” rather than a gambling haven….even if it is a place where favorites go to die! : )

  4. Mike Licht Says:

    There is a League of Historic Theaters or something like that, a national organization out of Baltimore. Wouldn’t it be great if we had a league of historic racetracks? The Saratogas and Pimlicos need all the leverage they can get, and history is a valuable economic asset if used correctly.

    So is love of horses. People who ride hunters are not poor; their daughters ride gymkhanas and work as stable grooms for fun. I even saw some Western-style dressage recently in Northern Virginia, an impromptu exhibition that drew a good family crowd without any advertising. Those folks are the natural allies of racetracks, but bringing in casinos would alienate them.

  5. kstafford Says:

    You need say no more about history. History is my other great passion in life. I think you make some more very valid points here. The group you describe in Northern Virginia kind of reminds me of the steeplechase scene. I first got into horse racing years ago at Fair Hill, MD during the anual Memorial Day races. They do have wagering that day, but the bulk of the “steeplechase people” you meet are just into horses.

    My favorite thing to do at Pimlico is to walk around near the paddock. You know, back where the paved floor is no where near level and you get a better sense for the age of the track. Just sitting there, breathing it all in, imagining the hustle of this place back in the 20’s and 30’s.

  6. Mark Rae website builder junkie... Says:

    I’d like to add some info about this guy:

    Peter Franchot was elected Maryland’s 33rd Comptroller on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2006. Prior to his election to statewide office, Comptroller Franchot served 20 years in the Maryland General Assembly, in the House of Delegates, representing the residents of Silver Spring and Takoma Park. During his time in the House of Delegates, Peter was a member of the Appropriations Committee and served as Chairman of the Transportation & the Environment Subcommittee. Through his career, he has been a strong advocate for education, health care, transportation and environmental protection initiatives.

    In his role as Comptroller, Peter Franchot has pledged to be a fiscal watchdog for the taxpayers of Maryland and an independent voice on the powerful, three-member Board of Public Works, which approves millions of dollars in state contracts each year. Comptroller Franchot is committed to helping keep Maryland competitive in the knowledge-based economy, assisting working families and protecting the state’s natural resources.

    Comptroller Franchot attended Amherst College (B.A., 1973) and Northeastern School of Law (J.D., 1978). He served in the United States Army, from 1968 to 1970. Peter is married to Anne Maher, a lawyer, and they have two children, Abigail, 25, and Nick, 22. Peter and Anne live in Takoma Park, Maryland. Peter Franchot was born Nov. 25, 1947.

  7. Mike Licht Says:

    A gentleman named Don who sells Slot Machine Tips included this information (I don’t need to grant him access to this blog):

    Please let me expand on this:

    A slot machine (American English), fruit machine (British English), or poker
    machine (Australian English) is a certain type of casino game. Traditional slot
    machines are coin-operated machines with three or more reels, which spin when a
    lever on the side of the machine is pulled.

    The machines include a currency detector that validates the coin or money
    inserted to play. (The slot machine is also known informally as a one-armed
    bandit because of its traditional appearance and its ability to leave the gamer

    The machine typically pays off based on patterns of symbols visible on the front
    of the machine when it stops. Modern computer technology has resulted in many
    variations on the slot machine concept. Today, slot machines are the most
    popular gambling method in casinos and constitute about 70% of the average
    casino’s income.

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