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Maryland to debate more gambling as casino market grows more crowded (access required)

Gambling is shaping up to be one of the most interesting debates of the 2012 legislative session in Maryland and, underscoring the need that many in the General Assembly feel to approve table games, it's going to be a big issue in plenty of other states, too. Maryland's gamblin' neighbors already have table games -- Delaware, Pennsylvania and West Virginia legalized blackjack, poker, roulette and other casino-style games largely in response to Maryland approving slots. And because it was slower to embrace slot machines than other states, Maryland is a relatively small fish in a pond that's big and likely to get bigger. In fiscal 2011, there were 20 casinos operating in those four states. They brought in a total of $3.68 billion in revenue that year from their slot machines alone. Maryland's share from its two casinos - $103 million, or 2.8 percent. Revenue from table games totaled $783 million in fiscal 2011 in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Delaware, according to Maryland's Department of Legislative Services. That share will grow as the state's largest casinos in Anne Arundel County and Baltimore City open their doors. (The Cordish Cos. is building in Anne Arundel and a group led by Caesars in seeking a license in Baltimore). But the casino scene is getting more crowded everywhere.