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The Legislative Special Session


The Legislative Special Session

The Maryland General Assembly was called into a Special Session by Governor O’Malley August 9 to address gaming in Maryland. Although the voters previously approved five sites for slot machines, the Governor called us in to add a sixth gambling site in Prince George’s County and to allow all facilities to have “table games” which includes roulette, black jack and poker.

I did not believe that a Special Session was appropriate to tackle this issue. However, as an elected Delegate, it was my responsibility to attend.

Late Tuesday night, the House passed SB1 by a vote of 71-58. The Senate also voted in support of the bill. Now, these two issues will be on the November ballot for the voters to decide whether to allow table games and a sixth casino.

While expanded gaming was a very difficult issue, I voted for this bill. It should provide substantial income to the state and for public education, creates permanent and part time jobs and make us more competitive with surrounding states. The bill also addresses the potential for corruption in campaign contributions, provides more legislative oversight and, by amendment, will help veterans. Some of the bill’s highlights include:

·        A new, 6th gambling facility in Prince George’s County, if that County’s voters also vote in favor of it; it will not be open until at least July 2016

·        Table games at all facilities as soon as the casino operator wants  

·        Casinos will keep 80% of the proceeds from table games and the state will get 20%;  when the 6th casino opens, the six host counties will each get 5% and the State will receive 15%

·        The slot machines are currently owned by the state; the cost to purchase or lease will  shift  to the casino operators, saving the state $135 million

·        Reduces the tax rate for Maryland Live! and the Baltimore facility when the Prince George’s site opens in 2016; this rate may be further reduced by the Gaming Commission in 2019 if warranted

·        Veterans’ organizations will be allowed to have up to 5 pull tab machines to support their work for veterans and to put money in the Veterans Trust Fund

·        A prohibition on campaign contributions by key individuals and entities  who are engaged in gambling in Maryland

·        Allows all facilities to operate 24/7

As I said, it will now be up to the voters to decide whether these changes should take place. You can see the entire bill and amendments at If you have any questions, you can contact me through my Annapolis office at or 410-841-3487. Thank you for the privilege of representing the 42nd District.



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