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Internet Gambling Could Make The Ballot In November

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Pat Warren joined the Eyewitness News team in 1992. Pat came to WJZ...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Forget about the traffic around a casino. Gamble at home. Maryland lawmakers will consider Internet gambling when they meet in a special session next week.

Pat Warren reports it’s part of a plan to upgrade Maryland’s gambling program.

Maryland’s got game, but surrounding states got it beat.

“On Aug. 9, we will be calling a special session to resolve this issue now,” said Governor Martin O’Malley.

O’Malley hasn’t shown his hand yet, but has pretty much nailed down his intention to ask for table games at Maryland slots casinos and permission from voters to license a sixth casino. Now another controversy is brewing–Internet gambling in Maryland.

“What we’ve outlined to you is in essence the question that will be put to the voters of our state, and that is–do we expand the table games and also will there be a sixth site in Prince George’s County?” O’Malley said.

The prospect of letting Marylanders gamble in the comfort of their own homes is likely to make the idea of a sixth casino look like small potatoes. Internet gambling is a suggestion from the Cordish Company, looking to offset the potential competition from a casino at National Harbor. House Speaker Michael Busch has informed members of the House that it will be discussed during the special session next week.

“I think everyone has to remember the real reason for a special session here is the fact that we have to prepare something to put on the ballot, because the ultimate decider of this issue is going to be the citizens of the state of Maryland,” Busch said.

Governor O’Malley has not commented on Internet gambling, but his office tells WJZ he will address it when his gambling bill is released sometime early next week. The special session starts Thursday.

Delaware has already cleared the way for online gaming.

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