Five states had gambling issues on their state ballots this year: Missouri, Colorado, Maryland, Maine and Ohio. Voters in the first three states passed their proposals while the last two rejected theirs.
Proposition A was a three-part piece of legislation: loss limit removal, increase in gaming tax and a freeze on new casino licenses. By removing the $500 per two hour limit, proponents say that Missouri will be able to remain competitive with nearby states that do not have loss limits. The tax went up only a modest 1%, from 20% to 21%, which goes to fund schools and local governments.
Amendment 50 to the state constitution brings changing that the gaming market should be very happy with. Casinos will be allowed to increase bet limits from $5 to $100 per game as well as add roulette and craps to the gaming floors. Casinos will be allowed to remain open 24 hours per day for 7 days per week. Current gaming taxes cannot be raised without a state-wide vote.
If these new additions raise revenue as the proponents believe that it will, the towns and colleges will also be pleased with the results. The tax is distributed by giving 78% to the community colleges and 22% to the local governments of the three gaming towns.
Governor Martin O’Malley has long been pushing for the legalization of slots machines within the state and this year the voters finally passed the constitutional amendment needed to allow it. Gov. O’Malley was busy paving the way by the next day for up to 15,000 slot machines in five locations around the state. As it will take a few years for slots to be completely implemented, the full estimated revenue boost of $660 million dollars isn’t expected until 2013.
Gambling supporters were disappointed with the voters in Maine this year when they rejected a casino proposal for the third time since 2003. A plan for a $184 million dollar casino-resort in Oxford County that promised new jobs just couldn’t cut through Maine’s traditionally anti-casino residents. At the same time, a proposal to add slot machines to the Scarborough Downs race track was also soundly rejected.
Despite the promise of thousands of new jobs and millions of additional tax revenues, Ohio residents voted no on a proposed constitutional amendment that would have a allowed a $600 million dollar casino complex. This is the fourth proposal to legalize gambling that has been rejected in the state since 1990.