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O’Malley wants work group on gambling

ANNAPOLIS — Expanding gambling in Maryland won’t be discussed during next week’s special session of the General Assembly, but the issue is far from dead.

Gov. Martin O’Malley said Wednesday that he will ask Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., D-Calvert and Prince George’s, and House of Delegates Speaker Michael E. Busch, D-Anne Arundel, to recommend members for a work group that will study expanding gambling in the state.

The work group would complete its work in time for a second special legislative session to be called in August, where lawmakers could use the recommendations of that group to consider legislation to add table games to state casinos and possibly create a sixth slots license for use in Prince George’s County, either at Rosecroft Raceway or the sprawling National Harbor development.

Senators, delegates and individuals from the private sector will be part of the work group, Miller said.

“They’re going to look at all aspects of gaming and they’re going to make a recommendation to the governor and General Assembly as quickly as possible,” he said, adding that further details were for the governor to announce.

Miller, a longtime proponent of using gambling revenue to raise money for the state, said auditing firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers is already working on a report that will detail the impact of a gambling expansion.

“If there’s such support as there is here, we could have another session,” Miller said, an event O’Malley is expecting.

“We anticipate doing that later this summer,” he said.