Sager lobbies against slot machines in Maryland

February 04, 1997


Staff Writer

ANNAPOLIS - Hagerstown Mayor Steven T. Sager warned Tuesday that allowing slot machines and casinos into Maryland would be a mistake that would hurt the quality of life in the state.

Sager was asked by Gov. Parris N. Glendening to speak at a rally of slot machine opponents. Many speakers wearing "No Slots, No Casinos, No Exceptions" stickers predicted casino gambling could lead to more crime but very little economic benefit for the area.

"I do not believe that anyone can say, at least not without a straight face, that slots and casinos will improve the quality of life in Maryland," Glendening said.


During his brief message, Sager said people should beware of the "slippery slope" of even slightly opening the door to slots in the guise of aiding schools or lowering taxes.

"It's just false hope," he said.

Last year, $55 million was gambled in Washington County on paper tip jars, but Sager said slots would take gambling in the county from "on the slope" to "a much bigger arena."

"I'm not opposed to what we have. I'm opposed to a significant increase," he said.

Glendening spokesman Ray Feldmann said the governor is not opposed to existing legalized gambling, such as tip jars and bingo.

"The governor sees it as drawing a line in the sand between what exists now and what could exist if slots and casinos were brought in," he said.

Hagerstown City Police Capt. Robert Hart, who joined Sager at the rally, said slot machines can have more of an adverse impact than tip jars because they often draw people - and crime - from beyond the area.

The Herald-Mail Articles