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Status of Gambling Laws - Part 3: Maryland - New Hampshire6 February 2002
The following are American jurisdictions having recent activity concerning legal gambling.
* States and territories with gaming devices are marked with an asterisk: *
! States with at least one casino (defined as having both banking card games and slot-like machines) are marked with an exclamation point: !
MARYLAND - Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. established a special committee to study gaming, saying it is inevitable, but chose an opponent of gambling as the head. Gov. Parris N. Glendening remains rabidly anti-gaming, but he leaves office at the end of 2002. Gov. Glendening appointed a prior task force, which voted unanimously against casinos. Tracks gave up their drive to get slots, for $10 million in increased purses. A statute allows phone wagers and tracks want implementing regulations; the real goal: Internet betting.
MASSACHUSETTS - The Legislature saved the state's four horse and dog tracks by allowing them to take bets on races around the country. On Nov. 7, 2000, voters rejected a proposal to end dog racing. The state's horse and dog tracks need slots to survive, but they will not get them this session. Casino proposals keep popping up, but go nowhere; in June 2001 the Senate killed a bill for up to three casinos. Atty. Gen. Reilly is a leading opponent. Gov. Cellucci says he will negotiate only Class II gaming with the Wampanoag Indians. In 1997 the Legislature killed a deal between then-Gov. Weld and the tribe for a casino in New Bedford, rather than on their inaccessible reservation. A court has upheld the right of local government to regulate or prohibit cruises to nowhere. To save charity bingo, the limit on progressive jackpots was raised from $500 to $3,000.
!* MICHIGAN - In Nov. 1996, voters approved three casinos for Detroit, despite the strong opposition of Gov. John Engler - the first time in American history that citizens of a state voted to allow new high-stakes commercial casinos in the face of active opposition. On July 29, 1999, Detroit became the largest city in the U.S. to have a land-based casino, the MGM Grand's $235 million "temporary" facility with 75,000 square feet of gaming, 2,300 slots and 80 table games. Detroit's three casinos take in almost $1 billion a year: MGM Grand and Motorcity about $29 million a month, and Greektown about $22 million. The state currently has 11 tribal compacts and 17 casinos. A trial judge ruled the compacts void, because the Legislature approved them by resolution, not by bill. A bill to prohibit casino ATMs is pending. The state's racetracks say they need slot machines to survive. Charity bingo revenue is down 26% in six years; so, the Legislature approved progressive jackpots. The limits on "Millionaire Parties," casino nights, were raised from a $2,000 prize limit to total chip sales of $15,000. A new statute appears to make Internet gambling illegal, but actually legalizes online wagering conducted by state-licensed operators.
!* MINNESOTA - Eighteen Indian casinos (more than in Atlantic City) with slots. The Legislature will consider proposals, which will go nowhere, to legalize sports betting (in violation of federal law) and open state-owned casinos, including one for the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, limited to airline passengers, and another to have a state-tribe casino in the metropolitan Twin City area. The first state-licensed card club opened April 19, 2000 at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, doubling the track's net income, even though it is in direct competition with the Indian-owned Mystic Lake Casino. The Legislature refused to allow a casino constitutional amendment on the ballot, so the 38 tables (50 maximum under the law) offer only poker and player-banked games, like pai gow poker -- no blackjack or slots. Maximum opening bets $30, raises $60. Bar games, particularly charity pull-tabs, are very big: about $1.5 billion in sales in 1999.
!* MISSISSIPPI - State law allows an unlimited number of dockside and riverboat casinos; there are now approximately 30. Mississippi has become the third largest (non-Indian) casino state, with gross gaming revenue of $2.7 billion in 2000, about 80% from more than 35,000 slot machines. The US Census found Mississippi led the country in revenue growth and job creation between 1992 and 1997. A tribal casino, the Silver Star, has made the Choctaws a powerful political force. The State Supreme Court ruled that race and sports books are still illegal, despite provisions in the Gaming Control Act specifically allowing "sports pools." It also threw out the third attempt by casino opponents, led by Elizabeth Stoner, to ban gaming by initiative. A new regulation allows casino employees to play everything but progressive slots. The State Supreme Court reiterated that amusement machines which dispense valuable coupons by chance, upon the insertion of a coin, are illegal slot machines.
!* MISSOURI - There are now eleven casinos, with gross gaming revenue of $1 billion a year. It took four elections to make casinos legal. In early 1994, the State Supreme Court nearly destroyed the state's new riverboat casino industry by limiting boats to games with some skill. The Nov. 1994 election amended the state constitution to allow slot machines, keno, bingo and other games of pure chance. The Court then ruled casinos must be on a river (Station Casino agreed to pay a $75,000 fine for using city tap water for its "river"). The voters amended their constitution once again, to make boats-in-a-moat legal. The industry is trying, again, to lift the $500 limit on gambling losses. This time it has the support of the Missouri Gaming Commission. Gov. Carnahan gave the $500 limit as his reason for vetoing a "Chuck E. Cheese" bill, which would have allowed amusement games with noncash prizes up to $250. The casino tax rate, 29.5%, is the second highest in the nation, just behind Illinois. A bill in Congress would bar Indian casinos from Branson. An initiative to allow fraternal and charitable groups to have slots is gathering signatures.
* MONTANA - An "anti" has launched an initiative to prohibit video gambling machines. A plan for slots in historic buildings was quickly killed. Religious activists failed in their attempt to put a proposed constitutional amendment on the Nov. 2000 ballot, which would have outlawed all gambling. They needed only 39,724 signatures, but they could not get even half that number. Tribes were in a quandary, because some believed they alone would have been allowed to continue. At present the state has more than 16,000 video gaming machines in more than 1,600 premises; interestingly, more video keno than video poker; up to 20 devices per location; maximum wager - $2; maximum payout - $800. Six tribes have compacts, allowing each to have 100 video gambling machines with $1,000 payouts, but no banking card games; two other tribes have not signed. State law allows a dozen forms of gambling, including card clubs, sports pools, Calcutta pools and fantasy sports leagues.
!* NEBRASKA - Sen. DiAnna Schimek has introduced a bill to put a state constitutional amendment on the 2002 ballot allowing casino gambling on Indian reservations. The Santee Sioux's lawsuit against the state was dismissed following Seminole. The tribe opened a casino anyway. A U.S. trial judge ordered the tribe to pay a $6,000/day fine -- the tribe pulled its pull-tab machines in June 2001, after the fines totaled $4.6 million. Casino initiatives did not make the Nov. 1996 ballot, because many signatures were from people who were dead.
!* NEVADA - The Legislature and Governor gave the Gaming Control Board power to decide whether Nevada licensees can open Internet casinos. The tax would be 6.25% (same as real casinos) plus a fee of $1 million for two years. A bill to create a State Lottery, with tickets sold only in casinos, failed. But Las Vegas casinos introduced a keno-lottery game with progressive jackpots, despite lotteries being prohibited by the state constitution. Casinos can now open private salons for high-rollers. The Board promulgated regulations against kiddie-themed slots. One of the first to pass, with restrictions, was IGT's "Addams Family" slots. A bill has been introduced to require casinos to pay slot jackpots, even when the symbols lined up due to a malfunction. In a p.r. move, the state lifted the ban on betting on local sports teams. Regulators have proposed putting a $550 cap on bets on college sports; there are 150+ licensed sports books. Federal Judge Philip Pro and the State Supreme Court ruled unpaid casino markers are checks under Nevada's criminal bad checks law. In 2000, casinos won $9.6 billion, more than $5 billion from slot machines. For the first time anywhere in Nevada, gaming brought in less than half of total revenue on the Las Vegas Strip. There are approximately 200,000 slots in the state; most are in the approximately 243 casinos. The Nevada Gaming Commission now limits new "restricted licenses" (15 slots machines maximum) to convenience stores, supermarkets, drugstores and bars. State Sen. Joe Neal failed to raise the gross gaming tax on the largest casinos from 6.25%, the lowest in the country.
NEW HAMPSHIRE - The Legislature will once again consider putting slots at the state's four racetracks (if not at two grand hotels) in its 2002 session. Gov. Jeanne Shaheen is in favor of video gaming devices to help solve the state's education funding problem. In 2001, proposals for two state-owned casinos and 1,000 slots in the state's 10 state-owned liquor stores and 5,000 slots in its four (three dog, one horse) racetracks were introduced, following a temporary ban on gambling bills. State law allows video poker machines, but only if they do not pay off. Getting caught gambling became a felony on Jan. 1, 2000; so, social clubs are turning in their supposedly non-gaming devices. Cities will also lose: Manchester was getting $1,500 per license for 344 video poker machines.
Gambling and the Law®: Status of Gambling Laws
©Copyright November 18, 2001, all rights reserved worldwide. Gambling and the Law® is a registered trademark of Professor I. Nelson Rose, Whittier Law School, Costa Mesa, California.
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