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Delegate says gaming bill would not affect tip jars

March 01, 2007|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

ANNAPOLIS - A state delegate said Wednesday that his proposed state gaming commission wouldn't affect Washington County's tip-jar operations.

Washington County Gaming Director James B. Hovis had encouraged the County Commissioners on Tuesday to oppose a bill sponsored by Del. Richard K. Impallaria.

But Impallaria, R-Harford/Baltimore County, said Wednesday that Washington County's system of distributing tip-jar money to nonprofit groups would be safe under his bill.

"As long as its money is used by a charity organization, it's not affected," he said.

Impallaria's gaming bill - which calls for a central regulatory system to issue licenses and collect fees - was one of two that Washington County officials were wary of this week.

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The other was a proposed task force to the state's "charitable and commercial gaming activities."

The sponsor of the task force bill, Del. Jon S. Cardin, D-Baltimore County, said he wants the state to examine all of its forms of gambling before legalizing slots.

Del. Robert A. McKee, R-Washington, said Tuesday that both bills should be fought if they try to infringe on a tip-jar system that runs and serves the county well.

The Washington County Gaming Commission distributes millions of dollars of tip-jar money to the county's Volunteer Fire & Rescue Association and local nonprofit groups.

Local leaders have resisted outside attempts to change the system.

Impallaria couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday for a Herald-Mail story that was published Wednesday.

On Wednesday, he explained that he was aiming broadly, trying to gather many types of gambling together - but his bill specifically lets nonprofits continue getting gaming proceeds.

"All money that goes to the nonprofits saves the taxpayers money," he said.

Impallaria's bill is scheduled for a hearing in front of the House Ways and Means Committee on March 8.

On the Web at http://mlis.state.md.us/2007rs/billfile/hb0260.htm

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