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Bar Owners Gripe at Maryland Gambling Crackdown

13 November 2000

CUMBERLAND, Maryland – Nov. 13, 2000 – As reported by the Associated Press: "Tavern owners are grumbling about Allegany County's crackdown on illegal gambling after years of tacit acceptance by local authorities.

"…The crackdown that began last month has virtually shut down the video poker games that proliferated in the county in the past decade, especially after State's Attorney Lawrence V. Kelly declared in 1996 that gambling prosecution was not a high priority.

"…Last month, responding to a growing number of complaints, Kelly joined with the county sheriff, Cumberland's police chief and the head of the local state police barracks in announcing that illegal video and tip-jar gambling would no longer be tolerated.

"…Now the bars and restaurants that relied on revenue from the illegal games in this economically lagging region want their lawmakers to ask the General Assembly to legalize tip jars.

"…Tip jars, a sort of instant raffle with cash prizes of up to $500, are popular in western Maryland. They are legal in bars and at private nonprofit clubs in Washington and Frederick counties. In Allegany, they are allowed only in the clubs, such as the Elks, Eagles and American Legion, and at volunteer fire company fund-raisers.

"Many Allegany bars and restaurants quietly operated illegal tip jars for years before video poker machines surpassed them in popularity…"

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