Maryland State Commission Recommends the Addition of Casino Games in State Slots Facilities

A state panel recommended on January 23rd, 2010 that legislators keep an eye on the gaming effect of full-blown casino facilities in other state have on the fledgling slot machine establishments in Maryland.

While the state's commission is not suggesting state legislators permit casino table games, it wants lawmakers to keep in mind that Maryland's neighboring states may lure players away with casino table games like roulette, blackjack and poker. Donald Fry, the head of Maryland's Video Lottery Facility Location Commission said that legislators should keep an eye on what is happening on other states as they begin reviewing state policy.

The commission, which includes 7 members appointed by Maryland's governor, Senate president and House speaker, has the power to issue gaming licenses for the state's slots facilities. It can only make suggestions to legislators about any potential changes. West Virginia already has casino table games. Aside from that, Delaware's House legislators passed a bill to add casino table games.

To allow casino table games like craps and blackjack in Maryland, state voters would have to approve a constitutional change. Maryland still has yet to turn on a slot machine after a previous constitutional amendment allowed as many as 15,000 slot machines in Maryland in 2008. However, gaming licenses have been given for three slots locations and customers could begin playing slot machines later this year.

The two slots facilities that are likely to open by early fall are Ocean Downs horse racing track in Ocean City and a slots location constructed by Penn National Gaming off Interstate 95 in Cecil County. The state commission is also recommending legislators to consider changing the law to include a lodge at the Rocky Gap State Park in western Maryland as part of any plan to install slot machines the area.

The commission decided not to suggest changing the amount of state taxes taken out of slots revenue. The state will get sixty-seven percent of the money, with nearly half of taxes being allocated for education.