On February 18th, 2008, fraternal organization majority voted that they want slot machines to be offered in their gaming halls in Worcester County. The county is the only lone county in the Eastern Shore that does not allow non-profit organizations to offer slot machines. Half of the profit of those machines, which is only limited to five machines per lodge must be given directly to charity.
County Attorney Ed Hammond commented that there is a bill being reviewed that will include Worcester County into the present law. Worcester County decided to back out from a legislation that was passed almost 10 years ago. The reason behind it is no longer acceptable, according to Peter O’Connor. Kelvin lynch, the leader of the Selbyville Elks Lodge, like about eighty percent of the speakers, firmly supported the gaming, although with some limitations.
The other fraternal organizations in Eastern Shore offer 245 slot machines and contributed about $2.5 to $3 million last year, according to Sarge Garlitz from the Sinepuxent Post of the American Legion. Wicomico American Legion Post Commander Ray Porter commented that the slot machines are important in their ability to help and support worthy organization. Ocean City Elks Lodge Jim Flaig commented that the chance for improving the welfare of the community as a whole with the help of the profits from the slot machines is important.
Just last year, the groups gave a total of $27,500, while Easton, Salisbury and Kent Island Elks gave away a total of more than $200,000 each. The speakers commented that the concerns that the machines would take away tourism profits are not based on valid concerns. Only members and their guests can gain accessed to the lodges and play the slot machines. But some of the speakers during the meeting are not too keen about the slot machines.
The president of the Worcester County NAACP(National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Ed Lee, petitioned the speakers to make a moral stand on the matter and not approved the gaming expansion.