Final Maryland Expanded Gambling Vote Expected Tuesday Evening
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (CBSDC) - The Maryland House of Delegates will more than likely make its final vote on Governor O’Malley’s gambling expansion bill on Tuesday.
The house committee assigned to the bill voted Monday evening to ensure deeper tax breaks for Maryland casino operators. This was one of the more significant revisions to O’Malley’s most recent revisions to the bill.
Other changes approved by the Ways and Means Committee include a tax rate cut for the recently opened Maryland Live Casino in Arundel Mills, carrying a tax drop from 67 percent down to 51 percent over the next few years. Legislation would also warrant an option to lower that again from 51 percent to 49 percent upon approval from an independent commission.
O’Malley’s bill only reduced the tax rate to 56 percent.
However, with these massive tax alleviations, the casinos would have to take on more responsibilities themselves; particularly assuming the costs of buying slot machines, as well as spend nearly half the money earned back from tax breaks on marketing campaigns, promotion and capital investment.
These changes came with the thought in mind that a sixth casino could severely affect the earnings of the five casinos already up and running in the state.
Members of the house were hopefully optimistic after Monday’s special session meetings. The delegates believe they may finally have the 71 votes necessary for approval of Governor O’Malley’s bill, which would still have to pass through the Maryland Senate, then be given the thumbs up by Prince George’s County residents before a sixth casino could be built.
It has still yet to be designated where in Prince George’s County that sixth casino would be built, but the two frontrunners are Rosecroft Raceway and the ever-expanding National Harbor.