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Discrimination At Center Of Baltimore Slots Application Lawsuit

The state of Maryland has made some of the biggest strides when it comes to gambling expansion and problem gambling prevention over the past couple of years. Now, the state is dealing with its first alleged scandal inside the gaming industry.

The Baltimore City Entertainment Group, founded by Michael Moldenhauer, has filed a federal lawsuit, claiming that discrimination played a part in the Maryland Video Lottery Facility Location Commission's decision to deny the slot license application of the company. The state has a different story on the reasons for the dismissal of the application.

"What BCEG is trying to get is consideration on a level playing field," said BCEG Attorney John F. Dougherty, as reported by The Baltimore Sun. "Obviously with this...preference program, the playing field is tilted against a bidder like BCEG, which is not a minority business enterprise."

The commission that denied the application claim that Moldenhauer missed deadlines. In addition, the commission believed that the gaming group did not have the funds that were necessary to make the slots hall a reality. The developer offers a rebuttal to that argument, asserting that he received a financial commitment shortly before the application deadline.

The issue of racism comes in when dealing with one of the questions on the applications, which asks whether the applying companies are owned by females or minorities. The question was offensive to BCEG officials, and they feel that played a part in the decision making process.

As for other decisions that have been made in Maryland, officials have been lauded for their efforts to stay ahead of the curve when dealing with gambling addiction. While many states have cut back their treatment and prevention programs, Maryland has moved forward with an aggressive plan to combat problem gambling.

Maryland has joined Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, Maine, and Connecticut as states in the Northeast that have expanded their casino options in recent years. The economic recession caused the need for increased revenue in the states, and casino gambling was looked at as the quickest, and most effective way, to bring millions of dollars and jobs into the communities.

Governor O'Malley's office has not yet responded to the allegations in the lawsuit, only saying they have not seen the lawsuit. The case is built on a letter to O'Malley from Maryland Attorney general Douglas F. Gansler, in which the AG requested the governor not sign a bill extending the minority business requirements.

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