Slots At A Mall:Not a Good Idea

Approximately 23,000 residents of the Anne Arundel County are up in arms with the prospects of a new Slots casino at the Arundel Mills mall. Many folk regard it as a family-friendly mall. In less than 75 days to go concerned county residents are set to oppose one of the largest slot’s casinos to be constructed on the East Coast.

The local community is concerned and one of the main reasons why they opposes this new casino; since gamblers will cause a dramatic increase in daily road traffic eventually leading to a dramatic increase in road accidents and other of social evils as well. As it is, Arundel Mills mall is already experiencing crime and traffic problems.

The Arundel Mills mall is visited by thousands of visitors per annum, the construction of the new Casino will divert people from spending time and money at the mall and local businessman are concerned that it could spell a decline in local revenues, since many has invested in shops located within the mall.

Jones states: “Many of us who oppose the slots facility at that location have nothing against gambling, just against the government’s bait-and-switch tactic that now would foist one of the largest slots facilities in the country on a popular mall.  The two are incompatible”.

Parents are concerned that co-mingling children with gamblers in such close proximity could have a severe impact on the upbringing especially that of younger children. Gamblers who leave the casino will have easy access to various prominent areas in the mall. The impact of the Slots casino is social and if its placement is in a strategic position within the community it will further ramifications on facilities such as: playgrounds, schools and churches since most of these establishments are frequented by adolescents.

In a recent editorial The Baltimore Sun criticized a campaign advertisements against the project and stated that it’s misguided and glossed over significant community concerns. “Our advertisement is accurate and represents the legitimate and deeply held concerns of the opposition”. Pointing out that the Arundel Mills mall is a family-friendly environment (true) and a slots parlour has no place there. The newspaper’s statement is supported by tens of thousands of county residents.

The advertisement also states: “Let’s use a common-sense location where gambling already occurs. … That creates more jobs and more revenue. … In a place gamblers won’t mix with mall shoppers and kids.”

Contrary to the Cordish Cos.’ repeated statements; data submitted to the state shows Arundel Mills is not the only location that could produce enormous revenues for the Education Trust Fund. For example, a well known gaming consultant indicated that a slots facility at Laurel Race Course, where gambling has peacefully co-existed off the streetscape for almost a century, would be operational sooner and produce more net revenue to the state than a facility at Arundel Mills. The county has other suitable locations more suitable for a slots facility. Governor Martin O’Malley agrees with us on that point.

Importantly very few people believed that Arundel Mills would be the site of a slots facility when we were asked to legalize slot machine gambling in 2008. To ignore the historical record, legislative intent and community expectations is journalistically unfair. There are various reasons why we are against a slots casino at Arundel Mills mall. Our television advertisement tries to set the record straight and begin the referendum debate in a responsible manner.



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