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Maryland Governor Fears for State Lottery

Maryland governor Martin O’Malley has called on Congress to silence talks of legalising online poker at the federal level.

The plea came in a letter to Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Jeb Hensarling, co-chairs of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, the congressional committee assigned to find $1.5 trillion in federal debt savings.

O’Malley said legalising online poker at the federal level would widen state budget deficits and threaten an economic recovery.

“Such proposals would diminish significant sources of revenue for the states when we have already had to endure significant revenue reductions,” O’Malley wrote.

“Historically, states have had the right to make their own decisions about whether to offer gambling and how to regulate the industry,” O’Malley said. “These proposals would strip states of those rights.”

According to O’Malley, Maryland’s lottery, the state’s fourth-largest revenue producer, generating $519 million annually, is in jeopardy.

“[Internet poker] would also jeopardize the dollars for K-12 public education, community colleges, and four-year colleges and universities that are generated by new slots locations in our state,” he said.

The governor’s call comes just days before the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade’s hearing on October 25 into Rep. Joe Barton’s bill to legalise online poker.

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