Maryland Gambling Expansion To Consider Online Gambling


Posted by on Monday, August 6th, 2012

A special legislative session called for Aug. 9 to consider gambling expansion in Maryland will also tackle the issue of legalizing online gambling.

Gov. Martin O’Malley has called legislators together in an effort to keep in line with neighboring states such as Delaware, who passed a law last month allowing Internet gambling. Although the focus of the special session will be to expand gambling at brick and mortar locations to include more table games such as poker and blackjack, as well as opening a new casino, online gambling regulations will also be debated.

“In order to maintain a healthy and competitive gaming program that attracts players from beyond Maryland’s borders and keeps Maryland gamers at home, we must put our gaming program on par with other jurisdictions in the Mid-Atlantic,” said House speaker Michael Busch.

State lawmakers have proposed a new casino to be built in Prince George’s County, but approval of such expansion lies with residents, who would vote on the issue in November. Gov. O’Malley is hoping to act quickly on gambling expansion by summoning lawmakers to the special session.

“It’s time now to act and time to put this issue behind us, so that we can move forward on the other important issues that confront us as a state,” O’Malley told NBC Washington.

In order to get the gambling expansion referendum on the November ballot, lawmakers must act by Aug. 20. A survey of Maryland voters conducted in June found that 59% were in favor of the jobs and revenue that gambling expansion would bring to the state and that legislators should find a way to make it happen. A large majority of 83% of voters would like to vote on the issue this year.

Gambling expansion in Maryland had been opposed by the owner of Maryland Live Casino, David Cordish. However, Cordish recently changed his tune on the issue provided that his casino would be allowed to offer online games.

Maryland lawmakers have less than two weeks to put something together by the Aug. 20 deadline. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller believes the special session can be adjourned quickly.

“We’re going to work together,” said Miller, who has been the legislature’s main supporter of gambling expansion. “Hopefully, we can get this done in a matter of days. I’m confident the people overwhelmingly ratify this because it’s a win-win for the people of the state of Maryland.”


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