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Cordish Urges Md. To Wait On Additional Casino

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PatWarrenWebPhoto Pat Warren
Pat Warren joined the Eyewitness News team in 1992. Pat came to WJZ...
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — A special gaming commission is deciding if Maryland should open an additional casino and allow table games at all state slots locations.

Political reporter Pat Warren has more on the problems and possibilities.

The possibilities are for additional revenue for the state that could offset additional tax increases. The problems are a little more complicated than that.

Maryland Live! opens in Anne Arundel County June 6, the long-awaited debut of the state’s biggest slots casino.

“We have 1,500 permanent employees here, we had 2,500 construction workers,” Joe Weinberg of the Cordish Company said.

Yet, still a week until the official opening and already it appears the game is changing.

“I think it’s not fair,” David Cordish, chairman of the Cordish Company, said.

The game changers are on the gambling commission– appointed by the governor and including members of the House of Delegates and Senate– to determine if Maryland needs to rework its original slots plan, put a casino at National Harbor, include table games and reduce the percentage of the state’s take.

“And, if appropriate, develop consensus legislation for consideration at a special session of the General Assembly in July,” John Morton, chairman of the commission, said.

That plan for a special session has been confirmed by the governor and Senate and House leaders who saw the gaming issue clog the works on the last day of the regular legislative session.

The Cordish Company says changing now would create hurtful competition for Maryland Live!

“You make a deal, you stick with it,” Cordish said.

But Caesars Entertainment, which is applying for the Baltimore slots location, sees an advantage.

“We’re prepared to support the addition of another license in Maryland if we’re allowed to provide table games at a more moderate tax rate for our slot machines in Baltimore,” Gary Loveman of Ceasars Entertainment said. “This has to be a winner for the City of Baltimore.”

There’s a lot to be considered, and they don’t have a lot of time to consider it. They are willing to present their plan to the governor on June 20.

As of now, only two of the five designated slots locations are in operation.

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