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Maryland Appeals Court To Decide Local Slots Vote

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By Meymo Lyons

Maryland's highest court has agreed to hear an appeal of a lower court's ruling that stopped a public vote on whether a casino should be allowed near a shopping mall.

The Baltimore-based Cordish Co. wants to build the casino near Arundel Mills Mall in Anne Arundel County. The proposal infuriated some folks who live near the mall, which already draws big crowds and creates lots of traffic.

Opponents of the casino brought enough signatures to the county's election board to put the proposal on the ballot for a November vote, but Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge Ronald Silkworth's ruling nixed the vote.

Silkworth ruled last month that a local ordinance enacted to allow the casino is part of an appropriation package for maintaining state and local government and thus is not subject to a referendum.

Opponents argue when Maryland residents voted to legalize slot machines, they did so with the understanding that all applicable zoning laws would apply.

The Court of Appeals has scheduled arguments for July 20.

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