MJC: More Signatures for Slots Vote Submitted

A group seeking a county slots vote in Maryland has submitted more signatures.

The Maryland Jockey Club, as well as community groups, submitted 16,702 additional signatures to the Anne Arundel County Board of Elections March 5 in a push to have citizens of the county vote on a zoning permit for slot machines at Arundel Mills Mall.

The board of elections in February validated 13,136 signatures. The MJC in a release said the additional signatures should “far exceed” the 18,790 needed to place the question on the county ballot in November.

The Arundel Mills slots project has been licensed by a state commission. The MJC, however, is fighting to have slots at Laurel Park, which is located in the same county.

Cordish Cos., the Arundel Mills slots project developer, has sued over the initiative by the “Stop Slots at Arundel Mills” group.

“This has been a coalition in the truest sense of the word where the tireless efforts of the many volunteer petition gatherers and the professionalism of a well-respected petition-gathering company obtained 40,000 signatures throughout Anne Arundel County,” MJC president Tom Chuckas said in a statement. “While the lawsuit challenges less than two dozen of those signatures, I have every expectation (the) claims will be defended vigorously.

“I can say without hesitation that the entire process has been extremely well-vetted and reflects the will of those who signed the petition.”

Attempts to open the largest slots parlors in Maryland have been bogged down in controversy. Elsewhere around the state, licenses have been granted for slots at a non-track facility to be built by Penn National Gaming Inc. in northeastern Maryland, and at Ocean Downs, an Eastern Shore harness track.