A day before a special session of the Maryland General Assembly starts, Gov. Martin O'Malley is explaining the bill he is sending lawmakers that will expand gaming in the state.
O'Malley's bill calls for another casino license for a facility in Prince George's County, allows for table games such as blackjack. It also cuts the tax rates for operators of the Arundel Mills casino in Anne Arundel County and a planned casino in downtown Baltimore, which has turned into one of the most contentious aspects of the issue.
O'Malley says he's "tired" of the issue of gaming expansion, and hopes lawmakers put aside their differences and pass legislation in the next few days.
"This is not so much about what we want, but what we need to get behind us," says O'Malley. "We can create jobs, we can maximize dollars that come from this. Gaming has been approved by every single jurisdiction by the voters a few years ago."
O'Malley also wants to end political contributions from gaming companies to members of the General Assembly, blaming the casino owners' influences for the chaotic end of this year's regular session for lawmakers.
"One of the low points of these last six years, by my way of thinking, was when the whole General Assembly, including the state's budget, came crashing down because of the influence of these casino operators," O'Malley says. The governor did not mention the Cordish Companies by name, but he was clearly referencing the operator of the newly opened Maryland Live! casino at Arundel Mills Mall, the largest gambling facility in the state. Cordish claims a casino in Prince George's County will take business from theirs.