The Washington Post

Frush to sponsor Prince George’s casino bill

Del. Barbara A. Frush has sponsored legislation that would allow a casino, featuring slot machines and Las Vegas-style table games, to be built in Prince George’s County if state and local voters approve.

Frush (D-Prince George’s) confirmed Friday that she has submitted legislation in the House identical to a Senate bill introduced earlier this week by Sen. Douglas J.J. Peters (D-Prince George’s). Frush’s initiative is expected to debut in the House early next week and could provide some additional momentum for the bill.

The legislation — which has divided Prince George’s lawmakers — also would allow table games at Maryland’s five previously authorized slots venues and would increase the share of proceeds that casino operators may keep.

“For one thing, I think it would provide a good financial boost for the county, and God knows, the county needs money,” Frush said. “And it would also help the state.”

In addition to generating revenue for state education programs, a Prince George’s facility could yield $40 million a year for the county, some of which would be earmarked for a promised new hospital system, according to Peters.

The prospect of a gambling venue in Prince George’s has drawn opposition from the owner of a casino expected to open this summer in neighboring Anne Arundel County, as well as from Prince George’s ministers and others, who argue it would breed social ills and hurt the county’s image.

Many lawmakers from the county are waiting to hear the views of County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D). He has counseled keeping “an open mind” but not announced a firm position.

The legislation would invite bids for a casino in a small swath of the county that includes National Harbor, the shopping and dining destination on the Potomac, and Rosecroft Raceway, the recently reopened horse track in Fort Washington.

John Wagner is a political reporter covering the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.



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