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Is expanded gambling inevitable?

Executive BranchMichael E. Busch

Like an addicted gambler, we believe the next card will make us a winner, and we no longer even consider "standing pat." Apparently, expanded gambling in Maryland is inevitable.

Maryland House Speaker Michael Busch says the legislature aims to put the best possible law before voters, but he no longer questions the need, value or risks of additional gambling in Maryland. Del. Sandy Rosenberg tells constituents he is working to make new gambling legislation as good as it can be, but he dismisses the idea that additional gambling could be voted down.

By their narrow standards, our elected officials are doing a fine job. But they have been less successful in explaining why gambling expansion is a good idea for Maryland, much less why it is inevitable.

Have the documented problems caused by 24/7 gambling halls suddenly disappeared? Has the governor re-written his own historical analysis that "the Republic was not built on gambling gimmicks or bake sales"?

It seems the best justification for this rush to the craps tables is the sense of inevitability and the need of the state needs to "move past" the issue. Apparently we can't move past it by just saying "No."

Six years ago, then-Baltimore Mayor O'Malley spoke eloquently of common purpose and shared sacrifice. He spoke of Maryland as a place of education, social justice and high standards, of smart growth, tough but fair treatment of criminals and a helping hand to new Americans.

As governor he's achieved many of these goals, but unfortunately, his legacy will likely be much smaller and he will be remembered simply as "the gambling guv." It's sad — but then perhaps it's inevitable.

Mac Nachlas, Baltimore

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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