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Fiscal 2004 worth gamble

Jan 14, 2003 12:47 AM

By GT STAFF / WIRE REPORTS

Legislatures across the country will be busy considering ways to incorporate gambling into the budgets for fiscal 2004. At the top of the list is Maryland, stone’s throw from the nation’s capital.

Maryland Gov.-elect Robert Ehrlich Jr., wants to legalize slot machines at racetracks to help close the state’s projected $1.2 billion deficit, according to a Washington Post analysis.

Racinos ”” horse and dog tracks installing video slot machines to enhance their handle and help boost purses, could erase deficits projected to total $85 billion national for fiscal 2004, according to the Post.

The potential increase in gaming has not been this grand since the recession of the early 1990s. The money woes resulted in an expansion of legal gambling — launching the riverboat and Indian casino phenomenons.

Currently, there is some form of legal gambling in every state except Hawaii and Utah. Lotteries are run in 38 states plus the District of Columbia. Tennessee and North Dakota residents voted in favor of lotteries last November.

Casinos are legal in more than 25 states. Riverboats are allowed in six states.