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Arundel slots debate could go statewide

The two top gubernatorial candidates have staked out different positions on a seemingly hyper-local issue of whether a casino should be built in the Arundel Mills shopping center, a development likely to inject slots into another Maryland political campaign season.

Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, made a series of calls to reporters last week to stress his support for a county-wide referendum. Meanwhile Republican former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich was paid to help a Baltimore developer bring the casino to the mall and thinks the venue is an "appropriate" place for a mall, according to a spokesman.

O'Malley's campaign shop hopes Ehrlich's client history will anger some of the Northern Anne Arundel Republicans who don't want it to be built near their homes. Ehrlich's camp says the referendum will remind voters that the O'Malley slots program has still not gotten off the ground.

Meanwhile, surrounding states are doing slots version 2.0, adding table games to draw more visitors to their casinos. Maryland's law does not allow Vegas-style gambling like roulette and blackjack.

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