Thursday, February 01, 2007

Slots look-alikes pop up in Arundel -

Slots look-alikes pop up in Arundel -

"At Bingo World in Brooklyn Park, rows of new video-gaming machines dazzle with displays of spinning cherries, 7's and BAR icons. The machines emit a series of throaty 'ka-chings' when the symbols line up, and they can spit out vouchers that can be redeemed for hundreds of dollars.

Some patrons who feed $20 bills into the machines call them 'slots,' but the operators of three bingo halls in Anne Arundel County that have installed 200 of the machines during the past year consider them instant video bingo machines that conform with state and county laws.

Critics aren't so sure. As Maryland lawmakers resume the debate over legalizing slot machines statewide, House Speaker Michael E. Busch questioned whether there is a significant difference between the new video bingo machines and slots.

'That's a legitimate question - and one the attorney general ought to review,' said Busch, an Anne Arundel County Democrat and a slots opponent.

Assistant Attorney General Kathryn M. Rowe, citing a Maryland Court of Appeals ruling six years ago that cleared the way for instant video bingo machines in Calvert County, said, 'As far as state law goes, if [the new Anne Arundel machines] are the same as the Calvert County machines, they are legal.'

Representatives for two of the three Anne Arundel establishments, Bingo World and Wayson's Bingo in Lothian, declined requests for comment. Officials at the third, Delta Daily Double Bingo in Laurel, referred questions to a manager, Craig Romak, who was unavailable for comment.

The emergence of instant video bingo machines in Anne Arundel comes as some Maryland lawmakers, including Senate President Thomas"
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