Maryland Casino Expansion Now In The Hands Of Voters
Maryland has been one of the states over the past several years that have been on a fast track to widespread gambling expansion. On Wednesday, Governor Martin O’Malley signed a bill that could lead the state to gaming riches in the near future.
O’Malley, who has been back and forth with his gambling stance, signed a bill Wednesday that would allow an additional casino in Maryland. The legislation would also allow casinos to stay open around the clock, and offer some of the most popular table games, including blackjack and craps.
“This bill could signal a changing of the guard in the Northeast,” said Gaming Analyst Brad Dawkins. “Maryland is located in an area where they could attract many of the high roller gamblers on the East Coast. They already have shown that casinos can work in the state, and with table games available, Maryland would have everything other popular gaming destinations offer.”
The bill, although passed by both the House and the Senate, must still gain voter approval before it becomes law. Voters have opened their minds to casino expansion in recent elections, and allowing 24 hour gambling and table games appears to be a lock. Maryland would add a new casino in Prince George’s County.
Maryland has not only expanded to include casinos in recent years, but the state is also considered to be among the leaders in prevention and treatment of problem gambling. Maryland dedicates a much higher percentage of gaming tax revenue to problem gambling awareness than any other state in the Northeast. Analysts have praised the state’s commitment to problem gambling, and neighboring states have used Maryland as a model to overhaul similar treatment programs.
If the table games are approved, Maryland will join New Jersey, Delaware, Maine, and Pennsylvania as states that offer full scale casino gambling. Maryland is currently third behind Pennsylvania and New Jersey in terms of overall casino revenue. Analysts predict that Maryland could surpass New Jersey for second in the coming years.