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January 29, 2010

Blackjack, poker, roulette, craps …

None of the five voter-approved casinos have opened for business in Maryland, but Howard County Del. Frank Turner is already seeking an expansion. He wants the all to have the option of offering table games and has drafted a bill that would put the idea to the voters this fall.

“We have to be competitive with other states,” Turner said when he stopped by The Baltimore Sun’s basement office in the State House this morning. He said neighboring states have already approved table games, making an argument that sounded strikingly similar to one laid out last week by the state’s slots commission.

Also, he said, time is of the essence. Maryland’s gaming rules are detailed in an amendment to the state’s constitution, so any major changes to the program require another amendment which must be passed by voters. Those initiatives can only go on the ballot every two years during a statewide election.

Turner said he’s not the largest gaming fan, but as a member of the House Appropriations Committee he feels duty-bound to come up with ways to enhance revenues. The voters “want more services and no taxes,” he said. “You need a source of revenue.”

Turner said he plans to introduce the bill next week.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller likes the idea. “We haven’t even got the slots issue off the ground yet and we are way behind the curve,” he said in an interview. “Hundreds of millions of dollars are building schools in Delaware, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Those are Maryland dollars that we need to keep within the state.”

Gov. Martin O’Malley’s spokesman Shaun Adamec said the administration “doesn’t have any interest in expanding” gaming. And House Speaker Michael E. Busch has been reluctant to press for gambling measures in the past.
Posted by Annie Linskey at 6:56 PM | | Comments (9)
Categories: Slots
        

Comments

I would like an amendment to remove gambling from the constitution of our state. It does not belong there!
The house and senate can and have always been able to simply vote on the matter, they just didn't have the political will to do it so they chickened out and cheapened out constitution.
Now if we want to add table games, or increase the number of slots or change the locations, we need to again amend our constitution.
What a pathetic bunch we have in Annapolis!

Wow. But they are still missing the mark.

All this focus on the overlarge Vegas style casino operation (which will never attract any out of town gamblers away from their other choices) leaves the local small time neighborhood guys still looking for a game.

Small venue poker room licensees in neighborhood restaurants and bars that already have a liquor license and parking and all the other "infrastructure" to entertain the locals.

Not thousands... but three or four in each county would (could) work very well.

Glad to see them idiots in annapolis are finally doing something, gambling shouldn't have been illegalized in the first place its not the governments responsibility to control peoples spending its the peoples own responsibility. We'll never attract out of state tourist but why should the in state gamblers have to go to delaware or atlantic city to find a game there is more gamblers in the state then some think there is and noones going to stop them from gambling even if it has to be underground

I have an idea, if Mr. Turner from Howard County wants an expansion of gambling why not place an additional casino at the Columbia Mall?

Looking at the slots issue, this shows just how incompetent our legislooters are.

Could it have been screwed up any more than it is now?

Richard is right. This should NEVER have been in our Constitution.

On the ballot in Nov. will be a question of whether or not we should have a Constitutional Convention. A YES vote will ONLY say lets look at it. It does not mean any changes but just look at it.
If a Convention is held we can "alter, amend or abolish our form of government as we deem expedient".

Our state government has become perverted and our means of redress have been stopped.

Throw the MOB out of Annapolis.

Actually, a YES vote to the question "Should we have a Maryland Constitutional Convention" means we should have a convention. Having the convention means delegates will be selected and the facilities determined to hold the convention. Subsequently, it means work to submit and vote upon amendments to the state constitution. Elements of recall, term limits and such could be discussed, planned and submitted for inclusion. After which the people of Maryland vote on accepting, or rejecting, such amendments.

Lately a lot of states authorities have come up with crazy ideas about gambling. I think they have more urgent issues to solve.

It would be a miracle if he managed to give the voters what they want. It's impossible to reduce taxes.

Hey the idea about the casino in the mall is not bad. Wives go shopping and husbands relax.

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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