MD Voters Cast Ballots On Expanded Gambling In November
By Bill Ordine
Voters in Maryland will get an opportunity to decide whether there will be expanded gambling in Maryland.
The state General Assembly passed legislation that allows a sixth casino in Prince George's County and table games at all the state's casinos. The legislation also provides for a reduced tax rate on slot machines to varying degrees to some other casinos to offset the impact a casino in Prince George's County would have on their revenues.
Voters in Prince George's County and across the state will vote in the legislation in November. If voters in Prince George's County turn down a sixth casino and voter across the state approve of table games, there will still be table games in Maryland.
While the Prince George's casino would be open to bidding, it is expected that it will be at National Harbor where developer Peterson Cos. And casino company MGM Resorts International would operate the gambling hall.
The bill also allows for 24-hour gambling.
The tax rate on slots is 67 percent now. With the changes, the slots tax rate for Maryland Live! at Arundel Mills Mall could go down to a total of 51 percent, with a reduction for the casino in Prince George's County and if it buys its own slot machines rather than the state leasing them, according to news reports. The slots tax rate for an anticipated casino in Baltimore operated by Caesars Entertainment would go down to 54 percent, also assuming they owned their own slots.
Maryland Live! could later seek another 2 percent tax rate reduction with approval from a new lottery-casino commission, and the Caesars Entertainment casino could seek 3 percent more.
This reaction came from MGM Resorts in a statement …
"MGM Resorts wants to be a part of this community. We are fully prepared to compete for that opportunity. As we enter this referendum phase, we look forward to meeting more Marylanders to detail our Company's vision for a destination resort at National Harbor. It will be a showcase, of which Prince George's County and all of Maryland will be proud. We're confident after residents carefully weigh the issue they will vote in November to bring new investment, new jobs and new revenues to the state."
And this from Milt Peterson of Peterson Cos. ...
"We thank the governor and legislature for coming together and giving voters the opportunity to create jobs and attract new revenues to Prince George's County and Maryland. We believe the package they have adopted will make Maryland's gaming program competitive to surrounding states and attractive to visitors from Virginia and Washington D.C. We look forward to voters getting their chance to speak in November and move Maryland forward."
This reaction came from Caesars Entertainment ...
"We're pleased that Maryland's leadership has given the state's residents the opportunity to voice their opinion on this important issue. Passage of this legislation brings Maryland one step closer to a critical economic development milestone that will create thousands of jobs, broaden the tax base and generate hundreds of millions of dollars to support a range of critical programs throughout the state. Governor O'Malley, Senate President Miller, House Speaker Busch and their many colleagues in both chambers of the General Assembly who supported this bill deserve credit for acting in Maryland's best fiscal interests and positioning the state for ongoing economic growth."
Posted Aug. 15, 2012