Casino royale: Maryland gambling expansion plan revived?
The bets are not off after all.
Once again, the door has been reopened slightly to salvage plans to potentially expand gambling in Maryland.
After plans were shelved last month, Gov. Martin O’Malley has taken one last roll of the dice to see if a resolution can be agreed upon to the long standing issue.
According to the Washington Post, the governor predicts there’s still a 50/50 chance the issue could get settled by the end of the summer.
Next week, O’Malley will hold high-level meetings with local officials. If there’s a consensus on a path forward, the governor could decide this week to hold special legislative session.
If the Maryland legislature can pass legislation by the deadline of August 20, voters would be able to cast their vote on the controversial issue on November’s ballot.
At issue is a proposal to allow Las Vegas-style table games at Maryland’s five slot locations and to add another casino, like the one proposed at National Harbor in Prince George’s County.
"I think it would be wonderful. I like the one in Arundel Mills so I think it would be great,” Jasmine Winters said.
Others, like Tiffany Small, said she believes a casino could change the family environment of the National Harbor.
“I think we would probably be a little leery about bringing the kids down for family trips and things like that,” Small said.
Most voters just want a resolution – any resolution – to the issue which has continued to plague the Maryland legislature for so long.
"It’s been a controversy for what now 5 or 6 years at least,” Maryland resident Rick Wright said, "I would like to see it settled and I think if it went to vote the rest of Maryland would vote for it also."
Maryland resident Carlos Watts agreed.
"I think everyone wants to get it done with,” Watts said today, “Make a decision. Work out the necessary plans and just get it done.”
Next week could bring Maryland one step close to just that.