Md. court allows Anne Arundel slots referendum

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By John Wagner
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 20, 2010; 1:54 PM

Maryland's highest court has issued an order allowing a referendum on the state's largest planned slots casino to move forward in Anne Arundel County.

Just hours after hearing arguments in the case, the Court of Appeals decided to allow a public vote on a zoning measure needed to build a 4,750-machine casino at Arundel Mills mall.

An Anne Arundel County Circuit Court judge had ruled that the zoning measure was not subject to a public vote because it was part of an appropriations package.

The high court did not explain its reasoning in its order but apparently rejected that interpretation.

A coalition of homeowners surrounding the mall and horse -- racing interests -- who want a slots casino at nearby Laurel Park racetrack instead -- had spearheaded a petition drive to put the measure on the ballot. Anne Arundel County law allows citizens to second-guess County Council decisions if enough voter signatures are gathered.

The case has political implications for the governor's race.

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