Republican Baltimore County Delegate Chris West has proposed a measure that places a new twist on the controversy of gambling at the Maryland State Fairgrounds. The measure would ban any slot machine gaming or table games from being placed on the property, indefinitely.

West actually amended a current bill he proposed into legislation to prohibit off-track betting, with a condition that the property has to sign a contract with the Greater Timonium Community Council Inc. This group represents close to 60 neighborhoods in the area. The sponsor of the bill said a contract is something that is enforceable by law. The contract would have to be changed in a process by the court or broken. Something Mr. West said would be harder to do than change a law.

West decided to add this option to his measure because a statute would be easier to appeal or amend. The legislator wants to ensure that the off-track betting will not take place at the fairgrounds. According to West, the new bill allows off-track wagering as the fairgrounds would like to see taking place but also asks for something in return. The fairgrounds has to commit that they will not seek to increase their gambling presence in the future by allowing slots or casino gaming.

This legislation does have support and a hearing has been put on the books for early next week with the House Ways and Means Committee.