Shortly after the conclusion of Maryland’s first special legislative session of the year, Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) committed to holding a second — on a possible gambling expansion.
The governor had floated the idea before but sounded far more definitive during a gathering with reporters Wednesday afternoon.
Asked if he definitely plans to call a second special session, O’Malley said: “Yes.”
“Certainly we have to address the gaming issue,” O’Malley said. “The presiding officers are pretty committed to it, as am I. ... We have some preparation to do before that time.”
The three-day session this week dealt solely with budget-related bills that were left unapproved last month on the final night of the legislature’s 90-day session.
Also left hanging was a gambling bill that calls for a statewide vote on whether to allow a full-fledged casino in Prince George’s County and Las Vegas-style table games at Maryland’s five existing slots locations.
The plan has been championed by Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D), among others. But it is bitterly opposed by the owner of Maryland’s largest casino, planned to open next month in Anne Arundel County.
In coming days, O’Malley and legislative leaders are expected to name members of a work group who will take a closer look at the issues involved. Among them: how to compensate other casino owners from possible new competition at National Harbor in Prince George’s.
O’Malley has suggested a July timeframe for a second special session.