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Black Leaders Strategize on Gambling Issue

7 January 2003

MARYLAND -- Intent on ensuring that African-American businesses and communities benefit if slot machines are legalized, Maryland's leading black federal and state lawmakers held a closed-door strategy session Monday to prepare for an impending debate on expanded gambling.

Organizers of the meeting said they would use the full influence of Maryland's Legislative Black Caucus to block slots- related legislation in Annapolis this year if black-owned businesses do not receive a substantive share of the action.

"If it happens, we want to make sure we're on the ground floor," said Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, a Baltimore Democrat who participated in the talks. "It is going to be very difficult to get any slots legislation through without the Legislative Black Caucus. That's what politics is all about."

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