February 26, 2005 in Nation/World

Vote brings Maryland closer to legalizing slots

Associated Press

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The state House narrowly voted Friday to legalize slot machines in Maryland, bringing Gov. Robert Ehrlich one step closer to fulfilling one of his biggest campaign promises.

The Senate previously adopted an Ehrlich-backed measure that calls for far more machines. If the two versions can be reconciled, the bill will go to governor, a Republican who for three years in a row has submitted legislation to legalize slots.

The House bill passed with 71 votes, the minimum number required.

“This is not my bill,” the governor said, but added: “It’s not over yet. We know that. We believe we can make this bill an even better bill.”

Ehrlich wants to legalize the machines to raise revenue for the state’s ailing schools.

The House version would authorize up to 9,500 slot machines and bring in a projected $1 billion in revenue. The Senate bill would authorize up to 15,500 machines and bring in $1.6 billion in revenue.

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