Groups Push

Worcester Fraternal Groups Push for Slot Machines

On March 18th, 2008, fraternal groups told the Worcester County Commission that they want slot machines to be featured in their halls and to help earn more for charitable organizations. Worcester County is the single county on the Eastern Shore that does not allow non-profit groups like fraternal groups to offer slot machines. Half the profit from these slot machines must be given to charity groups. County Attorney Ed Hammond commented there is being considered a proposal that would put Worcester County in the existing gaming law. Worcester County has chosen to exclude themselves from the gaming law.

The ruler of the Selbyville Elks Lodge, Kelvin Lynch commented that he supports the move to offer slot machines because it would help them give more money to charitable groups. The Selbyville Elks Lodge is in Worcester County. Sarge Garlitz, the representative of the Sinepuxent Post of the American Legion said that other fraternal organizations located in the Eastern Shore features two hundred forty five slot machines and donated $2.5 to 3 million in 2007.

Garlitz said that if the county is hesitant about the effects of allowing slot machines in fraternal houses, they can propose to study it again after two decades. Ray Porter, the Wicomico American Legion Ray Porter commented that the slot machines are important to the survival of the fraternal houses. Jim Flaig from the Ocean City Elks Lodge commented that the chance of enhancing the community with slots profits is important.

Back in 2007, the fraternal organizations gave a total $27,500, while Easton, Salisbury and Kent Island Elks gave a total of more than $200,000 each. Worries about the slot machines would lure away tourists from business establishments in the area are without basis. Only members and guests can gain entrance to the lodges and play the slot machines. But some speakers at the meeting are opposed to the slots plan. The president of the Worcester County NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Ed Lee urged the commissioners to not support the plan.

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