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Maryland Governor Floats Slots Plan
Meanwhile Maryland's Democratic Governor Martin O'Malley publicly declared his support for the installation of slot machines at Laurel Park & Pimlico by emphasising "the history & economic significance of the state's thoroughbred industry," reported bloodhorse.com. O'Malley emphasised: "Horse racing in Maryland is some 250 years old & is an integral part of the state's agricultural tradition. It is also a nearly US$600 million industry that employs about 18,000 people & preserves over 600,000 acres of open space across our state." Last month O'Malley released a state-commissioned study that "seemed to confirm the widely-held impression Marylanders are spending millions of dollars in Delaware & West Virginia (where slot machines are legal)"; it noted Marylanders deposit almost US$400 million annually in the neighboring states' slot machines. That money "translates into about US$150 million for education & other public projects in Delaware & West Virginia," & O'Malley said his slots proposal would "generate about US$550 million to be spent on public schools, community colleges & universities". The governor added slots proceeds would be used to "preserve horse-related agriculture & keep Maryland's thoroughbred racing & breeding industry competitive with those in other states".