08/08/2012 5:15PM

Maryland governor pushing for table games and an additional casino


Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley called a special session of the state legislature on Tuesday in order to push a plan to legalize table games at the state’s casinos and cut the casinos’ tax rates.

The legislation would also add approvals for a sixth casino in the state, to be located in Prince George’s County, either at a harbor site or at Rosecroft Raceway, the harness track owned by major casino operator Penn National Gaming Inc.

Under the legislation, which will be considered beginning on Thursday, when the state legislature is scheduled to go into special session, the tax rates on Maryland’s existing casinos would be cut from 67 percent to 56 percent. Supporters of the legislation contend the tax cut is necessary because of the additional competition posed by the Prince George’s County casino, which could not open until 2016 at the earliest.

The legislation would also allow the state’s casinos to operate table games, to be taxed at a 20-percent rate. Maryland’s casinos are currently limited to slot machines.

Maryland’s Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing industries receives a cut of the revenues from the state’s casinos for purses and track operating funds. The subsidies are capped at $100 million annually.