Gambling Debate Goes to Wire in Md.

Senate committee passes new proposal; would add 1,000 slots to proposed Pr. George's casino

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCPhiladelphia.com
    Maryland's House is trying to push a table games bill through before the General Assembly ends Monday.

    A Maryland Senate committee has passed a new gambling bill that would allow 1,000 slot machines at a proposed casino in Prince George's County and expand table games to all five existing Maryland casinos.

    Baltimore Sun reporter Annie Linskey tweeted that the Senate's Budget & Taxation Committee had passed the new bill Saturday afternoon.

    A alternate proposal raised late Friday night by leaders of the House of Delegates would allow games like blackjack, poker and roulette at the five existing casinos along with a proposed casino at National Harbor in Prince George’s County. Slots, however, would not be allowed.

    National Harbor developer Milton Peterson told The Washington Post that the newest House plan was "worse than useless ... There's no place in the world with tables [table games] only."

    The new House proposal would also give more revenue to the state than the Senate's bill. In the House plan, casino operators would receive 85 percent of revenue and the state 15 percent. Prince George’s County would receive the state’s cut from the planned casino at National Harbor, with all of that revenue going toward education.

    Lawmakers have little time to reconcile the bills. The General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn at midnight Monday. Even if something were to pass, voters would still have to approve the move in a statewide referendum.

    While gambling is the main issue on the table, plenty of other work remains to be done. Gov. Martin O'Malley's offshore wind measure has yet to pass both chambers.

    Meanwhile, a panel of House and Senate negotiators has yet to move a package of budget measures back to the chambers for a final vote. The panel is working to reconcile differences between the bills passed by the two chambers.