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Travelers Could Soon Be Gamblers At BWI

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LINTHICUM, Md. (WJZ) — There could soon be another way to pass your time while waiting for a flight at BWI Marshall if some Maryland lawmakers have their way.

Derek Valcourt has more on a proposal to bring slots to the airport.

Some say a special slots section inside the airport is a perfect gamble for a state that is desperate for more transportation dollars.

Head to the airport and all it takes is one delay or canceled flight for airline passengers to be stuck waiting–often with nothing to do.

“Nothing. Sit around, drink,” a traveler said.

But some say that boredom could be broken with slots. A bill before the General Assembly would allow up to 2,500 machines inside the terminals–beyond security–meaning only ticketed airline passengers could play.

“That way people can’t drive to the airport to play. The entire point of the bill is to capture revenue from people that don’t live in the state,” said Del. Eric Bromwell.

Delegate Eric Bromwell’s bill has been defeated the last four years, but this year it’s earned more support–44 sponsors in all–who say slots could bring in millions for a state desperate for money to improve roads and bridges.

“At a time where people are talking about a gas tax, that’s to me a good alternative,” Bromwell said.

The bill has had opposition from some who say it might require more security at the airport, and others who say slots just don’t belong there. But most passengers we talked to would approve.

“It would give people something to do. It would give maybe more incentive for people to fly into Baltimore than some of the other airports nearby,” said Tony Jenkins.

“I think gambling’s a form of entertainment to people, even though you are spending money, but it’s a form of entertainment and people need things to do other than sitting around here with only two restaurants open,” Anthony Minniti said.

There’s still a lot of obstacles to this bill. Lawmakers have spent a lot of time debating gambling bills over the last few years, they might not want to spend more. And even if the bill is passed, Bromwell says it would have to be put to referendum for voter approval.

Lawmakers are scheduled to hear testimony on the bill on March 5.

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