"No more bets!" the roulette croupiers will bark for the last time, and Prince George's County's multimillion-dollar charitable gambling industry will fold its cards for good this week.

It's the end of a rollicking 19-year run that set Prince George's apart. Nowhere else this side of Atlantic City could Washington area gamblers legally bet up to $500 a hand, whiling away an afternoon or a paycheck playing blackjack, poker, roulette and baccarat.

The last of the 16 casinos must close by midnight next Sunday, when the state law authorizing the casinos expires. The shutdown will throw 1,000 employees out of work, leave some volunteer fire departments facing bankruptcy and force county leaders to consider how to replace an income stream that bought everything from firetrucks to free lunches for senior citizens.

The firehouses and Knights of Columbus halls could never be mistaken for Donald Trump's Taj Mahal, but they were filled with the essential green and red baize gaming tables and the polished wood roulette wheels. The parking lots were packed with hundreds of cars, all day long. The proceeds bought $19 million of firefighting equipment and supported hundreds of other causes.

But over the years, several casinos were shut down for failing to pay taxes and other violations. A former casino manager will stand trial this year, accused of embezzling $300,000. Critics charge that less than a quarter of the proceeds ever went to charity.

Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D) killed supporters' hopes of saving the casinos during the recent state legislative session when he promised to veto all gambling legislation. The casinos, Glendening said, had expanded beyond their origins as modest neighborhood fund-raisers.

Now many residents are mourning the passing of an institution that added spice and cash to the county, while others are expressing only relief.

"The casinos provided good benefits for some groups," said Sheriff James V. Aluisi, whose job it has been to regulate the casinos. "But in some cases, it was gambling and thievery running rampant."

State unemployment officers are treating the closings as a mass factory layoff. They are visiting the casinos and taking bulk applications for unemployment benefits from dealers who could be eligible to collect up to $250 a week for six months, state officials said.

The casinos provided full- or part-time jobs to about 1,000 men and women, who worked 12- and 13-hour shifts. Some dealt blackjack or spun roulette wheels more than 50 hours a week, making $10 to $15 an hour, or more, in tips from gamblers.

Julie Dilworth, 33, of Laurel, who supported two children on her earnings dealing at two casinos, said she blames Glendening for the loss of her job. She said that with savings, her tax refund and unemployment, she could make it through the summer. "Hopefully, by then, I'll have something lined up," she said.

On the other side of the equation are the gamblers. And the gamblers -- whose combined losses added up to $20 million last year -- disagree on whether closing the casinos is good or bad.

Several gamblers interviewed last week would not give their names because they said their families didn't know they frequented the casinos or because they don't report their winnings to the IRS.

"I lose $500 or $600 a week in them," said a 32-year-old cabdriver based in Virginia. "I won't be sad when they're closed."

"I'll miss the company," said the poker-playing owner of a beauty salon in Prince George's. "Nowadays, it's hard to find a nice place to mingle. It's relatively safe because there are police all around."

"I'd like to see them stay open. I'm a card counter, and I think I can win," said a 47-year-old Veterans Affairs employee who nonetheless admitted losing about $4,000 Tuesday playing blackjack.

Fire departments, boys and girls clubs, and other charities are struggling to wean themselves from casino income.

The county's fire service is part volunteer, part professional. Budget constraints in recent years have forced the county to scale back equipment purchases, and the volunteers have used casino proceeds to acquire most of the pumpers, ladder trucks and other heavy equipment.

Critics say the volunteers went on a spending binge, buying top-of-the-line equipment when they should have known that the casinos' future was uncertain. But fire chiefs say they invested in critical apparatus that the county couldn't otherwise afford. They say they took out loans to make the purchases before the legislature voted in 1995 to close the casinos this year.

"When we sign 10-year notes and find out in two years that the casinos have only two more years of existence, it makes it kind of tough," said Jay Tucker, a director of the Marlboro Volunteer Fire Department, which he said owes about $500,000.

"In 12 to 24 months, you're going to see all this new equipment slowly disappear," Tucker said, "because the departments aren't going to be able to make the payments."

The Accokeek Volunteer Fire Department filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors this month when its directors realized that without casino revenue, the company could not keep up with payments on $1.6 million in equipment and facilities.

The Riverdale Fire Department issued a report earlier this year stating that it would be "in default and possibly bankrupt" by the end of the year. The department owes about $580,000 on equipment and $700,000 in back taxes, according to the report. The department's attorney, Angelo Castelli, said that the department was trying to find other ways to raise money but that "right now it doesn't look very good."

To help the volunteer companies pay combined debts of $8 million, Glendening promised $2.8 million in additional state aid over five years to all departments in the county, not just the ones that operate casinos. The county has pledged $850,000 over two years, and the County Council last week approved $400,000 more to help the volunteers.

"We're clearly not staring into imminent danger here," said Douglas A. Brown, the county's budget director.

But the government aid would not fully replace income from the casinos, which grossed $20 million last year and cleared nearly $4 million after expenses, according to records submitted to the sheriff's office. The casinos also paid $5 million a year in taxes to the county.

"What will happen to our ability to purchase replacement fire apparatus?" asked County Council Vice Chairman M.H. Jim Estepp (D-9th District), a former county fire chief. "I think we're teetering on the brink of a serious situation."

Not all departments are in dire straits. The Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department spent $1.7 million on new firetrucks but waited until it had enough money in the bank to pay its debts, said department President Jonathan A. Ransom.

Most of the county's 43 volunteer companies never relied on casino revenue. The Allentown Road Volunteer Fire Department raises $105,000 a year from bingo three times a week, Chief Nick Finamore said. The 21 volunteers who run Allentown's bingo games are not paid.

"We buy Chevrolets" when it comes to fire equipment, Finamore said. "If you had the casino, you could probably buy Cadillacs. The Chevies do the job, but it sure is nicer to have a Cadillac."

The demise of the casinos also means the end of hundreds of grants that their sponsoring organizations gave to schools, churches and charities.

"Dozens of organizations a week continue to call and write us for funding," said Steve Novak, spokesman for the Crescent Cities Jaycees Foundation, which gave 300 grants a year. "Now we are having to say no."

The Jaycees also must cancel their free program of lunches, lectures and health screening for 600 senior citizens a month, Novak said.

Casino supporters say they will hold Glendening accountable when he runs for reelection. At the annual Marlborough Day parade last weekend in Upper Marlboro, the county seat where Glendening served three terms as county executive, an antique firetruck bore a sign that said: "No charitable gaming, no new firetrucks, no Glendening."

"When the {1998} election rolls around, I'm going to be active, and it's not going to be for Glendening," said Joe Clarkson, president of the Marlboro Boys and Girls Club, who voted for Glendening in 1994.

The club netted $256,000 from its casino last year, according to the sheriff's office. Clarkson said that money will no longer be available for club facilities, equipment and donations to local schools.

Despite the criticism, aides say, Glendening has gained significant support for his strong stand against gambling. CAPTION: Gamblers get cards from a dealer at the Bladensburg Volunteer Fire Department's casino, the largest in the county.