Oct. 31, 2007
Regardless of party, recent Maryland governors have one thing in commonan addiction to gambling as a source of new state revenue. Marylands new Democratic Governor Martin OMalley has followed in the footsteps of the Republican he defeated last year, Robert Ehrlich, by calling for legalization of slot machine gambling in the state.
OMalley has apparently broken a deadlock between the House and Senate leaders with his proposal to put the issue of slots on the ballot in November of 2008.
This is modestly good news, because such referenda have a poor record at the polls. But it would be better for the legislature to reject the slots proposal immediately. On this issue, conservatives who know that gambling destroys families are united with liberals who know that gambling preys on the poor. The revenue generated by gambling is far outweighed by the social costs it imposes (see The National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling).