Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Gov. Martin O'Malley Releases Casino Expansion Bill for Special Session // SURPRISE: Tax Cuts for Casinos & 24 Hr. Gambling?

UPDATE: Read Gov. O'Malley's special gambling session FAQ below.

Before the start of tomorrow's special session of the legislature, Gov. Martin O'Malley has released a draft bill to expand gambling in Maryland. The legislation (available below) contains a mish-mosh of gambling policy changes to be voted on by the public in this November's Presidential Election.

TAX CUTS FOR CASINO OWNERS?  - While lawmakers were awaiting a decision from O'Malley on whether they would be called back to Annapolis a third time this year, they were bombarded with direct mail and phone calls asking them to reject tax cuts for casino operators. Numerous legislators reported receiving calls and emails from constituents calling on them to reject the gambling expansion plans. Current law taxes slot machine owners at 67%, but the draft legislation below does indeed call for casino owner tax cuts ranging from 6% to 10%. One justification for the gambling tax cuts is that the bill also requires slot operators to now buy their own machines. Maryland currently acquires the slot machines used in the state, but the proposed November referendum would transfer that duty to casino owners. Notably, casino mega-corporation MGM plans to operate a casino at Prince George's County's National Harbor site, but in recent days indicated it would move forward with the new mega-casino even without the slot machine tax cuts.

PRINCE GEORGE'S RESIDENTS PLAN PROTEST AGAINST GAMBLING SESSION: The Washington Post's John Wagner flagged a couple of other key items in the draft legislation, such as a provision allowing casinos to stay open 24 hours. Wagner also notes the timing of the proposed gambling expansion would bring table games to Maryland next year, with a Prince George's casino opening in 2016.

Meanwhile, Prince George's residents, who are concerned about a number of impacts to their communities, are planning to bus protesters to Annapolis to oppose the special gambling session tomorrow. The Real Prince George's blog today printed the following announcement (excerpt below):
REAL PRINCE GEORGE'S BLOG: On Thursday, August 9th 2012, as a host of organizations and concerned citizens will converge on the State House in Annapolis at the Lawyer’s Mall for a Rally and Press Conference at 11:00am....

1.     Governor O’Malley and the Assembly are attempting to rush through    a proposal for a new casino in just two to three days of debate.

2.     The Governor and Assembly are proposing to create a commission of unelected individuals to determine casino tax rates, possibly bailing them out on the backs of working families.

This is not a good deal for Prince George’s County and we don’t want it!....

See Gov. O'Malley's gambling session FAQ below:
Governor Martin O'Malley's Special Gambling Session FAQ

See a draft of the special session gambling expansion proposal below:
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley's Special Session Gambling Legislation - 8/8/12

No comments:

Post a Comment