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Caesars urges Baltimore lawmakers to approve gambling expansion

In a letter to Baltimore’s delegation to the House of Delegates, a Caesars Entertainment Corp. vice president urged the lawmakers to vote for legislation this summer that would change Maryland’s casino gambling laws — but only if Caesars is taken care of.

Del. Curt S. Anderson, the delegation’s chairman, has previously said all 18 members of the city’s delegation were opposed to holding a special session that would allow a casino to be built in Prince George’s County and legalize table games, such as poker and blackjack.

CBAC Gaming LLC, a Caesars-led group, is the lone bidder for the license to operate a Baltimore casino. The state Video Lottery Terminal Location Commission is scheduled to vote on the license on July 31.

Baltimore delegates have been concerned that a casino most likely to be built at National Harbor near Oxon Hill would reduce the revenue generated by a Baltimore facility.

But Jan Jones, Caesars’ vice president for communications and government relations, wrote that a gambling expansion would benefit the Harrah’s casino Caesars would build.

That’s only the case if the expansion is “coupled with a well-studied market-based adjustment to the operators share for the Baltimore City and Arundel Mills sites,” she wrote.

Jones’ position reiterated a stance the company has taken since April.

Legalizing table games would allow Caesars to hire 500 more people, Jones wrote, with compensation and benefits to those employees amounting to $50,000 a year. Table games — taxed at a rate no greater than 14 percent — would allow the casino to realize its “full potential,” Jones wrote.

Baltimore lawmakers are also seeking increased bonding authority for school construction coupled with any new gambling legislation.

House leadership is scheduled to meet with Speaker Michael E. Busch, D-Anne Arundel, Wednesday afternoon for a gambling update.