NATIONAL GAMBLING IMPACT STUDY COMMISSION
CHAIRPERSON JAMES: Mr. Leopold.
MR. LEOPOLD: Thank you, Madame Chairman.
I'm a state legislator from the State of Maryland. In 1963, the Maryland legislature passed legislation to phase out slot machines. That was to be accomplished over a five-year period.
In 1968, a bill was introduced to hold off that phase-out, to continue slot machines. The Senate Majority leader from Washington County was offered a $10,000 bribe to vote for that bill. Another legislator, a State Senator from my county, was also offered $5,000 in cash in an envelope outside the Senate chamber.
So the political link between slot machines and political corruption is very real, was very real in the State of Maryland in the 1960s. I do not want to see that return as a fact of life in my state.
On the issue of cannibalism, it's been discussed by many. I endorse the findings of the Maryland Restaurant Association. The Governor of Illinois, Governor Edgar, has spoken about the ill effects on other industries in the State of Illinois from river boat gambling.
Before my committee, the House Ways and Means Committee, testimony was received by the Mississippi Restaurant Association it did not have a deleterious effect on the restaurant industry in that state.
This Commission could do a very important service by getting the facts as to the impact on other businesses, the deleterious effects on other business. I happen to endorse the findings that it does have a harmful effect, but it's this Commission's job to help find that out.
Finally, legislation was introduced in the Nebraska legislature earlier this year to allow states that prohibit casino gambling to prohibit the advertisement of casino gambling in their states. I'm exploring that possibility in the State of Maryland.
I would like to see this Commission endorse such legislation.
Thank you for your time.