O’Malley Unveils Gambling Legislation

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Maryland governor Martin O’Malley unveiled his proposed legislation for this weeks special legislative session on Tuesday.  O’Malley’s proposal would allow an additional casino, to be in Prince George’s County, the introduction of table games, allowing casinos to be open 24 / 7, as well as providing tax breaks for casino operators.

When O’Malley called the special session, scheduled to begin tomorrow, he stated that this expansion would add $100 million per year to state coffers.  Joseph C. Bryce, O’Malley’s chief legislative aide, now claims that expanding gambling in Maryland will yield $200 million per year:

It was still unclear Tuesday exactly how much new revenue the proposed gambling expansion would generate for the state. Bryce said that when fully implemented, the changes would bring in an additional $200 million. But for next year’s budget, the revenue figure is closer to $60 million.

TWO CASINOS TRYING TO CONTRACT

While O’Malley and Senate President Mike Miller are eager to expand gambling in PG County, two casinos have already requested permission to contract their operations.  The Hollywood Casino in Perryville has just filed for permission to return 500 of their slot machines.  They cite competition from the recently opened Maryland Live! casino in Hanover as the reason.  The proposed casino in Rocky Gap has reduced the size of its proposed gaming floor, and the number of slots they propose to operate.

INTERNET GAMING A NO GO

While there was talk of including internet gaming in the expansion, to compete against similar operations approved in Delaware, House Speaker Michael Busch has vetoed that idea.  While O’Malley may be hopeful that his 55 page package is adopted as is, it is expected that the proposal will be substantially amended.  Despite this special session being only a few days, lobbyists are swarming on the State House.  Organized labor is spending heavily to win approval of the proposed casino at National Harbor in Prince George’s County.

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