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>It’s Close -- Very Close -- In MD

With big bucks on the line and a week to go, the battle between Penn National and the Maryland Jockey Club on one side and Baltimore’s Cordish Corporation on the other for gaming rights at the Anne Arundel County Mall is too close to call.

The Baltimore Sun poll on the issue shows 47 per cent in favour and 45 per cent opposed to the huge casino -- Maryland’s biggest by far if approved -- with the undecided votes likely to decide the outcome.

Almost 40 per cent of voters said they thought a racetrack would be the best location. Eighteen per cent did not want slots at all, and seven per cent were undecided.

In another poll, conducted by The Washington Post, Democratic Governor Martin O’Malley is 14 points ahead of former governor Robert L. Ehrlich, and if that margin holds up it seems likely that O’Malley’s supporters among the undecided would opt for his view in favour of Anne Arundel slots.

(Harness Tracks of America)