The Maryland General Assembly will convene the week of July 9 for a special session on expanded gambling if an 11-member work group announced Monday can reach consensus on a plan, Gov. Martin O’Malley said.
O’Malley named John Morton III, a business and financial services executive, as chairman of the group, which also includes four members of O’Malley’s staff and six legislators, three apiece picked by the leader of the House and Senate.
A bill died on the final night of this year’s 90-day legislative session that called for a public vote on allowing a full-fledged casino in Prince George’s County and Las Vegas-style table games at Maryland’s five existing slots locations.
Some lawmakers blamed brinkmanship over the bill for slowing down budget negotiations, which also collapsed on the session’s final night.
Last week, lawmakers returned in a special session to complete work on the budget with the understanding that a separate special session could be called devoted to gambling.
“It became evident in the 2012 legislative session that the issue of gaming should be examined in more detail,” O’Malley said in a statement Monday night. “We are pleased to announce the members of this work group to consider the issue of gaming in our state. We are confident that their expertise and guidance will help us move toward consensus on this issue.”
Among the key issues the group will examine is how to compensate other casino owners for lost market share if a new site is allowed in Prince George’s County.
Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) has championed the idea of a high-end casino at National Harbor in his county. That idea has been vigorously opposed by the owner of the state's largest casino, which planned to open next month in neighboring Anne Arundel County.
Besides Morton, here are the other members of the work group announced Monday, grouped by the official who appointed them.
Appointed by O’Malley:
* Matthew Gallagher, governor’s chief of staff
* T. Eloise Foster, governor’s secretary of budget and management
* Jeanne Hitchcock, governor’s secretary of appointments
* Joseph C. Bryce, governor’s senior policy and legislative adviser
Appointed by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert):
* Sen. Edward Kasemeyer (D-Howard)
* Sen. Nathaniel McFadden (D-Baltimore)
* Sen. Richard Madaleno (D-Montgomery)
Appointed by House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel):
* Del. Sheila Hixson (D-Montgomery)
* Del. Peter Hammen (D-Baltimore)
* Del. Frank Turner (D-Howard)