Bill Would Tweak Slots Wording

OCEAN CITY — Among the dozens of bills pre-filed in advance of the 2012 General Assembly session is a piece of legislation introduced by Eastern Shore Senators Jim Mathias (D-38) and Richard Colburn (R-37) that would alter the amount of charitable donations service clubs and fraternal organizations make to local causes.

After three unsuccessful tries in the General Assembly, state lawmakers last spring finally approved a bill adding Worcester to the list of eight other counties on the Eastern Shore that allow a limited number of slot machines in service clubs and fraternal organizations in an effort to enhance their fundraising efforts. Early this summer, the first slot machines opened for business in places such as the American Legion and the Elks Lodge in Ocean City and at seven other locations around Worcester County.

By all accounts, the slot machines in the service clubs have been a rousing success with thousands of dollars raised for charity. For example, in the first two months alone, the American Legion in Ocean City was able to donate roughly $14,000 to area non-profits and youth organizations and that figure was expected to soar throughout the rest of the year.

However, language in the bill passed last year required half of the gross proceeds generated by the slots in the service clubs in the nine Eastern Shore counties be donated to charity. A bill pre-filed by Mathias and Colburn would alter the bill to read “one half of the net after payout proceeds from slot machines operated by certain non-profit organizations in counties on the Eastern Shore must benefit charities.”

The subtle language change could significantly change the amount of money donated to charities, as required by law. With most of the machines set to pay out 80 to 90 percent, the difference between the “gross” and the “net proceeds after payout” could be substantial.

“The language in the original bill passed last year is a little muddy,” he said. “This pre-filed bill is an attempt to clarify that somewhat.”

Meanwhile, another pre-filed bill would extend the authorization of slot machines in service clubs, fraternal organizations and religious groups all over Maryland. Currently, the nine counties on the Eastern Shore allow limited slot machine gambling in the service clubs, but Senate Bill 11 would, if approved, extend the authority to all service clubs and organizations across Maryland.

Yet another pre-filed bill would allow the Maryland Lottery to place a certain number of instant lottery machines in veterans’ organizations. However, the bill excludes the shore.

One comment on “Bill Would Tweak Slots Wording

  1. I continue to say over and over again. CASH cow that has been LONG overdue. If you bring it, CASH will come. Win Win for everyone involved. I’ve been around long enough to remember the MD gambling BAD that took place way back in the 1960s – however I believe with a new generation and hopefully SMARTER long term agenda’s (without HANDS IN THE COOKIE JAR) – everyone can continue to prosper! Those in City Hall (and you know who you are) need to fully embrace controlled gambling initiatives that will benefit long term projects. If you look at the additional revenue to address pet projects and GREED – then no one will benefit! Now is the time to look back at a full year of slots at Ocean Downs – evaluate the revenue that came in and start strategically planning for OUR future! Happy New Year – BUSHMAN!

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