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Maryland Politics
Posted at 03:20 PM ET, 07/24/2012

Md. House speaker hears case of casino owner

Update, 3:20 p.m.: Busch said his meeting with Cordish officials was part of a continuing effort to gather information.

“I meet with everybody and try to get all the information I can,” Busch said during a brief conversation with reporters.

Busch also said he is on board with a provision that would ensure local jurisdictions that host casinos do not lose money because of additional competition from Prince George’s.

“That’s something we’re going to do, if something goes forward,” Busch said.

Original post: With a decision expected any day now on whether Maryland will hold a special session on expanded gambling, the owner of the state’s largest casino met privately Tuesday with House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel), a key figure in the deliberations.


David S. Cordish speaks during the ribbon-cutting program on the opening night at the Maryland Live ! Casino in June. (Mark Gail/The Washington Post)
Upon emerging two hours later from Busch’s State House office in Annapolis, representatives of the Cordish Cos. shared very little with a half-dozen waiting reporters about what had transpired.

“We really were just re-asserting our views on the issue,” said Joe Weinberg, managing partner for Cordish, who was accompanied by David Cordish, the company’s chairman. “You can never express those too often.”

Cordish’s views are well-known: The company, which owns Maryland Live! in Anne Arundel County, vigorously opposes a plan to allow a new casino in neighboring Prince George’s County. Cordish argues that a new casino, which would most likely be at National Harbor, would unfairly cut into the company’s market in the Washington region.

Those arguments have been better received in Busch’s chamber than in the Senate, which passed two gambling bills during this year’s regular session that authorized a Prince George’s casino as well as Las Vegas-style table games at Maryland’s five existing slots locations.

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) has said he is close to announcing whether he will call a special session on a similar plan. Lawmakers have said the expected start of a session would be Aug. 8.

An aide said Busch was not immediately available after his meeting with Cordish representatives. Busch is planning to meet Wednesday with other members of his leadership team on the status of the gambling deliberations, the aide said.

By  |  03:20 PM ET, 07/24/2012

 
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