The question of whether to expand gambling in Maryland has dominated state politics over the last few months. And with Gov. Martin O’Malley’s decision Friday to call a special legislative session on gambling in August, the question is one step closer to being answered: Do state leaders believe that expanded gambling will deliver on its touted economic benefits, or are they wary of the potential negative social implications that some argue could lead to an uptick in crime and addiction?
But the actual fate of gambling in the state won’t be sealed until well after the Aug. 9 session.
Even if the legislature votes to allow table games in the state and create a new casino in Prince George’s County, Maryland voters will still have to approve of the law through a referendum in November. But O’Malley’s decision to call the session has so far been met with skepticism.
Here’s what’s been said about the decision: (Beware all the gambling puns)
The Washington Post editorial board wrote that Maryland is rolling the dice on gambling, arguing that “while rushing an expansion of gambling would be unwise, Mr. O’Malley’s concern — that gambling has poisoned politics in Annapolis and should be addressed — is justified.”
The Washington Examiner pointed out that the economic benefits of gambling are hardly a safe bet. Specifically, while gambling may provide a short-term boom in the economy, it’s hardly sustainable over time.
The Baltimore Sun posted a number of reader letters expressing skepticism over the special session, one asking why there’s such a rush to approve a sixth casino site.
Red Maryland equated the decision to running with scissors: "No doubt it’s a divisive issue. So is the second special session. Assembly Republicans have objected to this special session and argued that the issue should be handled in next year’s session.
"This boils down to a Rocks, Paper, Scissors-style game between the Democrats and Republicans with a few new rules. Rocks will be thrown, tons of paper wasted printing the bills, retorts, testimonies and newspaper reports, and in the end, the scissors held by the Governor and controlling party will cut through all of it to get what they want."
And ICYMI: On Thursday, the Maryland Reporter had a list of reasons why O’Malley should not call the session.
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