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Las Vegas, Maryland?

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sweet! Gambling!

Hey Vic, this should be of interest to us. Albert Wynn is our Congressman.


Monday, September 15, 2003; Page A22

PERHAPS A FEW gullible Maryland lawmakers who supported legalized slot-machine gambling during this year's legislative session truly believed that the heavy rollers of Las Vegas would be content with 11,500 machines at four racetracks. They may have believed as well that lawmakers and developers swearing opposition to slots, casinos and gambling facilities really meant what they said. Wrong. The big money all along has been on turning Maryland into a land of full-fledged casinos, rivaling Nevada and New Jersey. That's now the full-court pitch of a Wynn-Wynn movement that ought to lose-lose: Las Vegas gambling king Steve Wynn and U.S. Rep. Albert R. Wynn (D-Md.) are among those behind efforts to forge an alliance of racetrack owners and casino interests to bulldoze the General Assembly into allowing a wholesale invasion of gambling operations into Maryland.

Lobbyists for Steve Wynn are negotiating with racetrack owners while Rep. Wynn, whose district includes most of Prince George's County, is lobbying hard for a casino resort at the planned National Harbor development along the Potomac River near Fort Washington. The Post's Craig Whitlock reports that an Annapolis lobbyist who represents both Wynn Resorts of Las Vegas and a company that is bidding to own Rosecroft Raceway in Oxon Hill has drafted legislation that would allow for casinos in Prince George's, Baltimore and one other site. In addition, it would authorize thousands of slot machines at four tracks and still more gambling at off-track betting parlors and other places.

National Harbor? Didn't developer Milton V. Peterson make clear his position on gambling at the resort two years ago? He told The Post then that "this guy ain't now or ever will be in gambling. I don't know if I have to put it in blood." Blood, or at least ballpoint pen, might have helped; only days ago, representatives for his project appeared before a legislative study committee on gambling. After the hearing, Thomas R. Maskey Jr., senior vice president of Peterson Cos. of Fairfax County -- when asked about gambling at the harbor -- said, "At this point it's not something we have an opinion on one way or another." Opponents of gambling at the harbor do have a strong opinion: that the developers have been duping the public -- reason enough to revoke permits and seek more honest answers.

How about the opinions of Maryland's top leaders on casinos? Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. ®, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller (D-Prince George's) and House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) all have said they oppose casinos. But Mr. Ehrlich has a lot riding on the racetrack-slots effort, enough of a political and budgetary stake to make any concerted slots-casinos push tempting. Mr. Miller has extensive ties to racetrack owners and might find fresh appeal in a slots-casino alliance supported by the owners and perhaps a constituent or two interested in operating casinos on other county land, such as a southern Maryland beach site. Mr. Busch, who led the legislative maneuvers that blocked the last slots effort in Annapolis, now seems to be softening his opposition. He's looking instead for a legislative way out, perhaps a proposal sending the gambling issue to referendum.

Tucked into the Wynn Resorts draft legislation is a provision that might seal a deal for a concerted gambling assault on the state: Racetrack owners would have the option to add table games and convert to full-fledged casinos after two years. Rep. Wynn happens to have a number of places in mind; he says his staff has identified about a dozen sites that could be suitable. This is one of the dangers of making Maryland financially beholden to gambling. Once the gates are opened, the gambling industry's political influence in Annapolis could reach unhealthy proportions as it did when Maryland last allowed slot machines.

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Its not gonna happen for a very long time...Meanwhile check out that new place in AC - its da bomb. Went there this weekend and did not have a thing to complain about, no matter how hard i tried, lol. Staff is friendly, rooms are very modern with expensive furniture, CD player, a huge shower, floor-to-ceiling windows, TV, PS2, internet, porn, etc. I like how everything is on the same floor - casino, restaurants, nightclub, shopping. They have a nice pool with hottubs on both ends. Basically, go check it out for yourself - i had a blast. Oh, and winning some dough didnt hurt either.

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