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Maryland Politics
Posted at 02:52 PM ET, 07/06/2012

Maryland special session on gambling won’t happen next week

Update, Friday, 2:30 p.m.: O’Malley spokeswoman Raquel Guillory has confirmed the governor will not call a special session for next week but continues to seek consensus on an expanded gambling package.


Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley. ( Brian Witte — Associated Press)
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) has decided against calling a special legislative session on expanded gambling for next week but is expected to announce Friday that he will continue to seek consensus on a plan that could be enacted this summer, according to a person close to the deliberations.

A work group launched by O’Malley developed a plan last month that would authorize a new casino in Prince George’s County, most likely at National Harbor, and allow Las Vegas-style table games at Maryland’s five existing slots locations.

The 11-member group stopped short of recommending a special session, however, because three of its members — all from the House of Delegates — withheld their support. Five O’Malley appointees and three senators on the work group were all on board.

Since then, O’Malley has been critical of the House members but continued conversations with leaders of the chamber, including Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel).

O’Malley had been advertising the week of July 9 for a special session. But given the setback, he concluded that is not a realistic time frame and wants to spend some more time seeing where House members stand, said the person, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the issue.

O’Malley told reporters this week that power outages caused by last week’s storm had also diverted some of his efforts on gambling.

The idea of a new casino in Prince George’s has been championed by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D). The developers of National Harbor have enlisted MGM Resorts International to help build and operate a facility if an acceptable plan materializes.

The idea is vigorously opposed by the owners of Maryland Live!, a $550 million casino that opened last month in neighboring Anne Arundel County. The owners argue it would unfairly could into their market, which includes the Washington region.

Any expanded gambling plan would require both legislative and voter approval.

By  |  02:52 PM ET, 07/06/2012

 
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