Prince George’s council to vote Tuesday on slots

The Prince George’s County Council is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a zoning bill that could effectively ban slots at any site in the county.

While there is no plan on the table at the moment to introduce slot machine gambling into the county, Penn National Gaming, owners of Rosecroft Raceway in Fort Washington, have made clear they want slots at the track.

The bill up for consideration at the council Tuesday, sponsored by County Council member Eric Olson (D-College Park), has stirred up debate over how the county should develop and what role gambling should play in efforts to raise money for a much-needed new hospital.

Prince George’s was not one of the five Maryland jurisdictions allowed to host slots as the result of a 2008 statewide referendum.

The council appears poised to defeat Olson’s ban on a 5-4 vote. County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D), who opposed slots when he was a state legislator, said he thinks Olson’s bill is “premature” and will tie his hands in negotiations with state officials over state aid to the county.

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