In a bid to resolve some of the most difficult gambling issues left over from the last legislative session, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) said Friday that he would assemble an 11-member work group on casinos to undertake “a fact-driven process, aided by expert analysis.”
O’Malley said the group would be charged with making public recommendations by June 20, in preparation for a possible second special session in July devoted to gaming issues.
Lawmakers are already returning next week for a special session devoted to a tax package and other budget matters that were left unresolved last month when the 90-day session collapsed.
In a letter to the legislature’s two presiding officers, O’Malley said he would like the House and Senate to provide three members each for the work group and that he would appoint the remaining five members.
A bill that passed the Senate but died in the House on the final day of session called for a public vote on allowing a Prince George’s County casino and Las Vegas-style table games at the state’s existing five slots locations.
O’Malley wants the work group to sort through several issues, including ”fair compensation” for existing casino owners for allowing additional competition in Prince George’s. The group will also look at shifting the responsibility for procuring slot machines from the state to private casino operators.
A consultant retained by the state has already started looking at these issues.