On September 11th, 2008, a church sponsored debate on slots gaming attracted a diverse audience of voters who voice the disadvantages and advantages of the controversial state wide constitutional referendum that would permit the form of gambling in 5 venues all over the state, including the Ocean Downs racing track in Worcester County.
Well-known leaders in education, politics and the church at the St. Andrews Episcopal Church forum spoke about the November 2008 ballot referendum that, if approved, places 15,000 slots terminals in Allegany, Anne Arundel, Cecil and Worcester counties and the city of Baltimore.
While most in attendance at the meeting agreed that helping Maryland school children was the biggest priority, some people, including Democratic Delegate Rudolph Cane of Wicomico County, objected to a state plan to raise profits for public and higher education through slots profits.
Cane was one of the several speakers presenting case in support or criticism of the slots proposal that if approved, will give $90 million into the state Education Trust Fund by February as well as funds the Chesapeake Bay Trust Fund and expands health care for another 100,000 state residents.
A representative for the Maryland State Teachers Association, Randal Mickens, defended the organization’s position of support, stating the slots revenue would produce the needed the $400 million annually into public and higher education by 2011. Another $200 million would benefit other public services.
He said that if the slots proposal, there will be a $600 million budget deficit. The option to make some cuts on the state budget is also present. The rector at St. Andrews, Father David Michaud, urged the audience to become to become well-informed about the advantages and disadvantages of slot machines and not be influenced by the propaganda of the different groups that have an interest on the case.