The bill would expand gambling in the state to include table games and a sixth casino site in Prince George's County. The final decision is now left up to the voters to decide in the November election.
The Maryland General Assembly passed a bill that would expand gambling in the state to include table games and a sixth casino site in Prince George's County.
Senator David Brinkley said the final decision on expanded gambling is now left up to the voters to decide in the November election.
"The main thing that I think we hang our hat on is the fact that if the voters do not like the product that was produced, the constitution requires that they have an up or down vote on this. I think that [residents] need to be aware that was the reason for the rush at this time. The language to be appear on the ballot has to be presented by August 20th and now that we have legislation, the elections board can prepare that," Senator Brinkley said.
Under the bill, casino owners' would see an increase in their share of revenues. Analysts say gambling expansion would bring in an estimated $200 million a year to the State's General fund by 2017.
When it came time to vote late Tuesday night, Frederick County Delegate Kelly Schulz said 'no' to the expanded gambling measure. She said she went to Annapolis with an open mind about the bill, wanting to understand both sides of the issue.
"I wanted to hear everything that was there. If this was going to be a good plan for the state of Maryland, I wanted to know how it was going to do that. Ultimately, I voted no because of the things I learned about the bill as we sat through the hearings and through debating and different amendments that have been passed.
Schulz said she would have preferred that table games and a new casino site in Prince George's County be separate issues for voters to decide in November, not together on the ballot. Although Schulz was not pleased about two special sessions this summer, she is happy that local veterans organizations will be able to have up to 5 pull-tab gambling machines.