Reporting Monique Griego
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)— A major victory for supporters of expanded gambling after months of delays and some stiff opposition. On Friday night, the state Senate approves a bill to add table games and another casino.
Monique Griego explains what the vote means for Marylanders.
While supporters of the bill won a major battle, the fight is far from over.
Maryland’s casinos are one step closer to cashing in on more than just slots.
“It’s a great way to get revenue for the state that isn’t paid for by the people of the state,” Richard Madaleno (D-Montgomery County) said.
Late Friday, with a vote of 28-14, the Maryland Senate approved a bill to expand gambling. It allows casinos to have table games like craps and black jack and opens the door for a sixth casino at the National Harbor in Prince George’s County.
“This is all about trying to maximize the bottom line for Maryland taxpayers,” Governor Martin O’Malley said.
But there’s been no shortage of backlash. One major hang up is a proposed tax cut for some of the casinos. And then, there’s the idea of too much competition.
Critics have said a sixth casino will saturate the area with slot machines which will end up hurting the other casinos. That could lead to job cuts.
The state already has three operating slots locations– Perryville, Ocean Downs, and the largest at Arundel Mills. Baltimore City has licensed and is laying groundwork for Harrah’s. The casino at Rocky Gap is in the planning stages.
“Is another facility, a sixth facility going to saturate the market and really not lead to a good outcome for taxpayers?” Sen. E.J. Pipkin, the Senate minority leader, said.
Questions that are sure to come up again when the House of Delegates gets its hands on the bill.
“I think it was good that we had an opportunity to talk about these issues but we’re far from done,” Pipkin said.
The bill is expected to face more opposition when it moves to the House next week.
If the House approves the bill, it will go to the voters in November.