Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. says Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos has his full support in getting slot machines approvedat Prince George's County's Rosecroft harness racing track by the end of 2012.

Miller, a longtime proponent of gambling who represents parts of Prince George's County, said it doesn't make sense that the county is losing revenue from residents who are spending money at casinos in Delaware, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

"The citizens of those states are building schools and lowering taxes because of timid legislators and interests [in Maryland] that feel that the venue would be detrimental to the community," he said.

Court documents show that Angelos is willing to pay $9 million for the bankrupt racetrack and an additional $5 million if state law were changed to allow slots there.

But for that to happen, both the state House and Senate would have to pass legislation to add a referendum to the ballot in November 2012. The Prince George's County delegation historically has been against slots.

"I say you'll have a few people who will be adamantly opposed still," said Aaron Meisner, who headed StopSlotsMaryland leading to the 2008 referendum allowing slot machines in the state. The General Assembly, though, "has shown itself to be rather fickle on the issue already," he said, and so he wouldn't be surprised if some lawmakers who once opposed slots changed their position.

Slots, Meisner said, will not solve the state's budget crunch. "This is not like it was decades ago where you had Las Vegas and Atlantic City and there were no places to gamble," he said. "At this point, the market is pretty much saturated."

Legislation allowing slots at Rosecroft has not been written, said Kelley Rogers, president of the track's parent company. But he says alternative gambling is necessary for Rosecroft to be profitable. "If you look back to previous histories, such as Sen. [Anthony] Muse and Sen. Miller last year sponsoring a card room bill for Rosecroft, there is support for some forms of alternative gaming."

Neither Muse nor other members of the Prince George's County delegation responded to requests for comment.

Scott Peterson, a spokesman for County Executive Rushern Baker, declined to comment on Baker's thinking. "It's still early in the process. Like everyone, we're still watching and evaluating the bidding of Rosecroft -- who it ends up with and what it leads to."