Southern Md. areas that had slots are torn over new proposals, too

Several failed attempts by residents and business owners were made to appeal the legislation and delay the abolition. Charles County received voter approval for slots after a referendum in Senate Bill was a law passed during the Maryland legislative session, altering the definition of slot machines. United States Census Bureau. Your comment is under approval. Virginia's incorporated cities are listed under their surrounding county.

Many say lessons learned in heyday 40 years ago should be kept in mind

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It's clear from their plans that they have high hopes for this," said Michael Pollock, managing director at Spectrum Gaming Group, a gambling consultant in New Jersey. While MGM will be Maryland's sixth casino, it stands alone in what Pollock called a "certain level of exclusivity" near Washington, which, along with Virginia, has no casinos.

MGM is banking on the region's popularity among tourists and its population density, said Lorenzo Creighton, president of MGM National Harbor, citing the 26 million people who live within a mile radius.

The casino opens amid a boom in regional gambling that's pinched other gambling destinations like Las Vegas and Atlantic City, N. Creighton said the region's appetite for casinos is voracious enough to expand the market without taking a sizable chunk of business from Maryland Live and Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, its closest competitors.

Part of MGM's calculation remains based on its bid to become a destination resort for overnight customers, including international guests, but many customers will come from just across the river. Tourism officials hope the casino attracts more foreign visitors to the area and perhaps a new category of visitor.

And there are students," said Robin McClain, vice president of marketing and communications for the Destination DC marketing organization. Unlike some other casino business models, MGM traditionally goes for grand, resort-style casinos, where gambling is just one of the attractions, Pollock said.

Resort visitors tend to stay longer and may or may not be focused on gaming, he said. MGM's "destination" business model will benefit from the casino's location in the fast-growing retail and entertainment center of National Harbor, Pollock said. Over the past decade, the plot of land in Prince George's County has been built up with thousands of hotel rooms, convention space, restaurants, an outlet mall and even a Ferris wheel. The resort stands atop a parking garage base that steps up like a pyramid.

A story hotel rises out of its east end and offers rooms. The casino offers slots, table games and poker, a spa and restaurants — including a steakhouse by the Voltaggio brothers and a pastry shop with a foot-tall chocolate fountain mimicking a larger one at the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas, also owned by MGM Resorts International. Art in the resort's public spaces includes a metal sculpture by Bob Dylan, the singer-songwriter and Nobel laureate.

Among the shops is a boutique actress Sarah Jessica Parker is opening that features her line of shoes, accessories and other products. They're saying, 'This is not your local casino with slot machines and a buffet — this is something on a bigger scale. The combined revenue of Maryland's five casinos was up 7.

Of the Southern Maryland counties, Charles was the most widely known for its slot machines in , with 1, gambling machines in establishments, according to The Sun. Charles County received voter approval for slots after a referendum in The bill limited establishments to 35 machines each, and also required those who profited from the machines to be registered voters in the county. According to old Sun reports, U. One article from the Baltimore City Paper described Waldorf as a tiny truck stop town along a major shipping route that hosted slot machines in every building and restroom along the highway.

Slots were also located on the piers in Colonial Beach, Va. Charles County was allowed to put slots here because they were located in the Potomac River, which was under Maryland jurisdiction.

There were slot machines at the Reno, the Monte Carlo and the S. Freestone at Freestone Point, Va. Casinos continued to thrive in Charles County for another decade, seeing record numbers in county revenue, according to statistics from the Southern Maryland Studies Center.

Even with the economic development contributed from the casinos, the gambling industry brought a wave of economic, political and local opposition. The casinos continued to be landmarks in Southern Maryland until a law passed in to phase them out by David Hume, a Charles County resident, decided to run in the race for governor on a platform that emphasized outlawing slots.

In April , Tawes signed a bill to freeze all new slot machine licenses and begin a phase-out process. The phase-out did not officially begin until During this three-year process, establishments were required to reduce the number of slot machines annually.

Some Southern Maryland residents opposed the anti-slot machine legislation, questioning where the counties would get their revenue without them. Several failed attempts by residents and business owners were made to appeal the legislation and delay the abolition.

Pate said in a interview with The Sun. All slots were removed from establishments by June 1, Local sheriff offices in each of the counties assisted with the confiscation of the machines. Former senator John Thomas Parran Jr. D surveyed Charles County businesses and submitted a page report in stating that 85 of the business that responded would be forced to close because of the slot abolition.

The ban initially resulted in a financial void for Southern Maryland counties. County officials considered dog racing as a supplement to the slots. A dog racing track was designed and almost constructed before officials decided this sport would not sway people to come all the way to the southern counties. Horse racing was not considered because neighboring states were already landmarks for the sport.

In , the House of Delegates legalized any form of gambling, including slot machines in 10 counties as long as the gambling was sponsored by a nonprofit organization. Even with this legislation, legal gambling did not return to the southern counties until the Maryland Lottery in The slot machine abolition eventually led to the proliferation of video bingo machines — essentially still slot machines, but different enough to clear state regulations —in Chesapeake Beach.

All of these establishments still have electronic gaming devices today. An email has been sent with a link to confirm list signup. Edit Article Add New Article. Close 1 of 6.

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