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O’Malley: Progress Coming Toward Expanded Gambling Special Session

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)—It’s slow going, but Gov. Martin O’Malley says there’s continued progress in his effort to get expanded gambling before the voters this year.

Political reporter Pat Warren has more on Tuesday’s meeting of the minds.

A winning hand for supporters of expanded gambling gets the House and Senate to agree to table games, reduces the 67 percent tax rate for casino operators and approves a license to build a casino at National Harbor in Prince George’s County.

Visitors to National Harbor may be just as divided as the General Assembly seems to be.

“I don’t have an independent opinion,” one visitor said with a laugh.

“No, I say, no. I vote no for the casino coming here,” another visitor said.

Gov. O’Malley, Senate President Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch met for breakfast and brainstorming on expanded gambling Tuesday morning.

Afterward, Busch said the breakfast was delicious. President Mike Miller said they need hard work. Somewhere in there, Gov. O’Malley saw progress.

Warren: “You said 50-50 were the odds that you would give yesterday.”

O’Malley: “I should never have done that, should I?”

Warren: “Has that improved any since yesterday?”

O’Malley: “I think we made more progress today than we had even made yesterday.”

Meanwhile, building trades unions continue to push for a special session. But it won’t happen unless lawmakers act right now and give voters in November their say.

“Yeah, I worry that it will change the atmosphere,” said one voter.

“I don’t know what the atmosphere is, so I don’t know if it would change it or not,” said another.

Prince George’s and Montgomery County executives and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake met with the governor Monday in support of expanded gambling.

O’Malley says he has seven-10 days to call a special session on gambling in time to get the issue on the ballot.

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