In Real-Time, “Maryland Loses” Ticker Shows How Much Revenue the State is Losing from Legislative Inaciton on Gaming
The Washington DC metro area Building Trades’ fight for a new casino in Prince George County, MD continues as Gov. Martin O’Malley tries to form a consensus that will allow a special session of the Legislature to take up the issue. If it is not resolved soon there will be no chance to attain public approval by the November election. The next opportunity to have the public vote would be 2014.
The Building Trades unions have shifted into creative mode, borrowing a page from the anti-smoking canon by launching a website, Maryland Loses, that shows, among other things, the amount of tax revenue the state is losing because of legislative inaction on gaming.
Negotiations between legislators are still at an impasse due to new developers’ requests that the tax rate be lowered on slot revenue. Maryland currently demands an unusually high 67 percent. A new casino would mean new jobs for construction workers in the region as well as increased revenues for the state. From The Washington Post:
“I think once the House alternative is settled upon and reviewed by members, I think this is something that we could resolve very, very quickly, and so I would still hope with a little better than 50-50 chance that we can forge the consensus necessary around the House suggestions and come together in order to pass the House alternative,” O’Malley said.
The deal that would allow for a new casino would also expand Maryland’s gambling to include table games. A separate “ticker” on the Maryland Loses website shows the amount of money lost from Maryland residents traveling to West Virginia, Delaware and Pennsylvania to play.
The action site also includes the amount of money Maryland is losing by buying or leasing slot machines for casino owners instead of having the owners do this themselves.
The addition of a proposed $800 million casino near the nation’s capital is making progress, but it remains unclear whether or not Maryland politicians can come together:
“I feel like progress is being made,” the governor said. “Of course, I also thought progress was being made right up until the goal line, when the House members pulled and walked off the field and took off their helmets.”
The proposed new casino in the national harbor would create an estimated 2,000 construction jobs and 4,000 permanent jobs by the resort.