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PG County Defers Ban On Slot Machines

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The prospect for a slot machine casino at Rosecroft Raceway in Oxon Hill, Md. has been deferred until at least next year.
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The prospect for a slot machine casino at Rosecroft Raceway in Oxon Hill, Md. has been deferred until at least next year.

Council members in Prince George's County have put off taking action on a slot machine ban until bext year. By a margin of 5-4, the council voted to table the bill that would have used zoning measures to effectively make the county off-limits for slot machines.

That didn't stop councilwoman Andrea Harrison from saying she felt slots weren't worth the gamble: "I don't think we need to stoop to something like this in order for us to grow. I just believe in us too much. I believe in Prince George's County."

Opponents of the ban packed the council room in Upper Marlboro, many wearing bright yellow shirts and hats.  Eddie Martin, vice vayor of District Heights, wasn't wearing yellow. He did, however, hint that those who are against slots for religious reasons were hypocritical, after a recent chat with his pastor, who said their church has never refunded money tithed to them during services.

"I said 'do you question them where they get their money on Sunday?'  He said 'no.'  But they give bus trips to Atlantic City. They give bus trips to all the race tracks and all the gambling places. But they'll come and they'll say to you 'You shouldn't do these things.' But they haven't given one red cent back."

The bill was principally targeted at a proposed casino at Rosecroft Raceway in Oxon Hill.  The owner of the horse track, Penn National Gaming, says its unclear how long they could keep the track open without slots.  The track just reopened to live racing last week after closing in 2010.

As an alternative, the county council approved a resolution that calls for the General Assembly to require a majority of county voters to vote to bring slots to the county, if the referendum needed to approve additional slot machine locations ever went up for vote for the whole state.

The county council does not meet for the rest of this year.

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