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House approves measure to regulate legal gambling STATE HOUSE REPORT


The House of Delegates voted overwhelmingly last night to regulate a wide variety of legal gambling in Maryland, including commercial bingo parlors, slot machines, casino nights and tip jars.

Sponsored by the Speaker of the House, Kent County Democrat R. Clayton Mitchell Jr., the bill was approved, without debate, by a vote of 123-1.

The measure now goes to the Senate, where its reception is unlikely to be so warm.

"I've not seen where there's a problem," said Sen. Walter M. Baker, a Cecil Democrat and chairman of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.

"They're going to have to prove it to me."

Mr. Baker's committee has already killed a more narrowly drawn bill to regulate slot machines operated by Eastern Shore fraternal and veterans' organizations.

Before sending Mr. Mitchell's bill to the floor, the Judiciary Committee exempted many games of chance run by fraternal organizations and charities, such as bingo, raffles, chance books and paddle wheels.

The legislation would create a five-member regulatory board to be appointed by the governor, and a 10-member legislative panel to review the board's activities.

Delegate Theodore Levin, a Baltimore County Democrat, voted against the bill because he said establishing a commission "legitimizes gambling" and hypocritically attempts to distinguish between "good gambling and bad gambling."

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