Legislator Proposes Md. Gambling Panel - NBC4 Washington

Legislator Proposes Md. Gambling Panel

Delegate Eric Luedtke wants members of both chambers to oversee proposed Gaming Control Agency



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    A Maryland lawmaker said Saturday he will propose changing a measure to create a joint House and Senate panel to oversee gambling.

    Delegate Eric Luedtke, D-Montgomery, indicated his plans during a meeting with about a dozen members of the House of Delegates. Luedtke said he will submit the proposal on Monday, when delegates come back to work during a special session.

    The measure to allow table games and a casino in Prince George's County would reshape the State Lottery Agency as a new State Lottery and Gaming Control Agency. Members would be appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate.

    Delegate Frank Turner, D-Howard, said that's a concern, because the measure doesn't currently include House input on the matter.

    "We need to be a part of that process,'' Turner said.

    A House subcommittee met for about 90 minutes to hear details about the legislation. The Senate passed the bill 28-14 on Friday, the second day of the special session. The measure faces more challenging prospects in the House, where a similar bill stalled in the regular 90-day session this year.

    In addition to allowing table games like blackjack and a Prince George's casino, which could not open until 2016, the measure makes a variety of changes to gambling policy in Maryland. For example, it would allow casinos to be open 24 hours. Casinos are now allowed to be open from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 4 am. on weekends.

    A state analyst told the subcommittee that the longer hours could raise an estimated 5 percent more revenue. The impact in the current fiscal year would be about $17.4 million in gross revenues. That goes up to $39.3 million in fiscal year 2014 and $64 million in fiscal year 2015. Gross revenues from 24-hour operation would jump to $68.8 million in fiscal year 2016 and $85.3 million in fiscal year 2017.

    Maryland law currently allows five casino sites. Three have opened in Hanover, Berlin and Perryville. Licenses have been awarded for a casino in Baltimore and at the Rocky Gap Lodge and Resort in western Maryland.