Gov. Martin O'Malley (Getty Images)
ANNAPOLIS (WUSA) -- Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley has announced a special session of the legislature to begin August 9th, in yet another attempt to resolve the thorny issue of expanded gambling in Maryland.
One focus: the relentless push to put a Las Vegas style destination resort casino development at National Harbor located at the foot of the Wilson bridge of Interstate 95 in Prince George's County. The casino approval would be the state's sixth.
The decision on a special session is a signal that there is political agreement on key provisions of a bill including:
- expanded gambling in Maryland including table games
- siting a casino in Prince George's County
- a complex formula that would ensure that the casinos that are already built, such as Maryland Live at Arundel Mills Mall will not suffer financially.
- provisions to ensure counties with existing gaming licenses will be protected.
Leaders are rushing to finish work in August because of the need to put the gambling legislation on the ballot in November for a statewide referendum.
The bottom line for Prince george's county will be $69 million a year in local revenue and 2000 new jobs, according to County Executive Rushern Baker.
And additional more than $200 million per year in state revenue will also be raised --- some to be dedicated to public education.
Meanwhile, promoters of two other possible gambling sites in Prince George's County, Rosecroft Raceway and Cap Center at Largo, are fighting to include their proposals in any state and local gambling legislation.