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Black Leaders Consider Gambling Campaign

23 January 2003

MARYLAND – As reported by the Baltimore Sun: "African-American lawmakers are considering a push for legalizing gambling at locations other than the racetracks where Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. wants to install slot machines, legislators said yesterday.

"The lawmakers want to ensure that African-Americans, whose communities would play host to many of the new slot machines under a plan favored by Ehrlich, will share the wealth generated from legalized gambling, prominent black lawmakers said.

"Meanwhile, one of the state's most powerful African-American lawmakers questioned yesterday whether the racetracks should receive any share of the profits from slots other than enough to cover their costs because of the benefits they'll gain from increased purses.

"…If the state restricts slots to tracks and gives the owners a share of the profits - as the industry has proposed - the expanded gambling would primarily benefit wealthy white businessmen, [Sen. Ulysses Currie, chairman of the Budget and Taxation Committee] said. Few of the direct beneficiaries under a plan proposed by the industry would be black…"

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