In Maryland, where a legislative back-and-forth over expanded gambling failed to yield consensus before the end of the regular session, Gov. Martin O’Malley is expected to call for a special session in Annapolis next month to sort the matter.
A passed bill in this session, likely to start between August 8th and 13th, would clear the way for the public to vote on the measure in November. The proposed gambling expansion would allow current casinos to expand into table games such as blackjack and roulette, would create a sixth casino in the state, and would provide tax relief to the current casinos who will be affected by additional competition.
The sixth casino is likely to be built on the banks of the Potomac on the National Harbor. The proposal has gained support in the Senate but has failed to get enough votes to pass in the House of Delegates. In late May, O’Malley expressed displeasure with the amount of time the issue has taken:
“I saw it make a mess of the closing days of our legislature, and it threatens to do the same for the remaining two years that I have to serve the people of this state,” O’Malley, who is widely thought to harbor ambitions beyond Maryland, said in an interview last week. “My hope is to resolve this issue and put it behind us.”
But Joseph C. Bryce, O’Malley’s chief lobbyist, said he believed that the number of jobs and revenue expanded gambling would bring are paramount and suggests that the Governor is confident in realizing these benefits:
“The governor would not be doing it without the expectation that he gets the votes with the help of the speaker,” Bryce said.