Prince George's County Council table gambling vote until 2012

Opponents and supporters of gambling faced off in Prince George's County, but instead of deciding the issue, the council rescheduled the vote.

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(Photo: Associated Press)

Residents and business owners packed the council chambers before the vote was tabled until 2012.

Supporters argued gambling at Rosecroft Raceway, for example, would secure a profitable future at the raceway, create some $400 million in revenue for the county and eventually nearly 3,000 new jobs. Without the slots, the horse-racing venue claims it may have to close, company executives said Tuesday.

“You need to find ways to fund things at local level you need to be innovative, bring in economic development yourself,” Darrell Carrington of Penn National said Monday on Newstalk with Bruce DePuyt.

Critics worry gambling will have a negative impact on the community and lead to further financial problems in a county already hit hard by the economic downturn.

"We do not want to unleash gambling addiction in the middle of a foreclosure crisis in the middle of our county,” said Gerron Levi.

In 2008, Marylanders voted to allow slots at five locations, but Prince George’s county wasn't one of them. Debate swirls on whether county leaders, state leaders, or Maryland voters should decide what's best for the county.

“You need to let people vote. That's what this bill does it takes away ability to vote... a few council people should not be making that decision,” Carrington said.

"When it goes to statewide referendum, Cumberland, eastern shore, the other 23 jurisdictions of Maryland get to decide for Prince George’s county. Prince George’s county does not get to decide," countered Levi.

The bill to ban gaming had four co-sponsors on the county council, seen as sure yes-votes. It needed five to pass.

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