Card games, table games and VLTs
The bill permits card games at Rosecroft – this means poker, blackjack – but not slots or table games like roulette. The struggling racetrack is on the verge of collapse, according to owners who testified at a Senate hearing last week.
One owner teared up describing the potential loss of 600 jobs. But permitting such gaming at Rosecroft would require a constitutional amendment and a statewide referendum. While the voters at it, why not expand gaming across the state? That was the question Minority Leader Allan Kittleman asked on the floor, offering an amendment that would allow the state slots commission to award six “table game” licenses anywhere in Maryland.
The licenses would be distributed by the slots commission either in the locations already approved for slots … or anywhere else the commission determines they should go. BWI Airport, for example, one place some have discussed.
Some Senators objected saying Kittleman’s idea has not had a hearing and is too vague. But they also sounded frustrated that surrounding states are enhancing their own gaming programs while Maryland is being left behind.
“All of the state around us are better situated,” said Sen. Delores G. Kelly, a Baltimore County Democrat. She also cited cost: “Why do all of us have to pay for a referendum that only deals with one jurisdiction?”
Den. George Della, from Baltimore also wants to expand gaming options. “This would be a great way to help ourselves,” he said, supporting Kittleman’s idea. Della was once opposed to gaming, but now that it has passed he wants the types of gambling expanded. “This would take us to the next level,” he said.
Senators didn’t vote on the amendments this morning. They plan to continue the debate Friday. No matter what they do, the idea of expanding gaming will likely come before the body again this session. Sen. Catherine Pugh, a Baltimore Democrat, said she’s confident the Senate Budget and Tax Committee will approve her bill that allows table games.