City delegation delays gambling meeting

ANNAPOLIS — The head of the Baltimore city delegation in the House of Delegates said Tuesday that a delegation meeting to talk about expanding gambling in Maryland has been postponed until next week because not enough details are available yet.

Del. Curt Anderson had said last week after a meeting at City Hall with House Speaker Michael E. Busch, D-Anne Arundel, Gov. Martin O’Malley and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake that the city’s delegation would meet Wednesday to discuss a draft of legislation that would allow table games such as poker and a new casino site in Prince George’s. On Tuesday, Anderson said the meeting has been postponed until next Wednesday.

To meet this week to take a position would be like “buying a car because the speedometer works,” Anderson said.

The Baltimore Democrat noted that the O’Malley administration has forwarded some details about how Baltimore and Anne Arundel County would be protected from revenue loss to a casino in Prince George’s. City lawmakers are concerned about how the additional casino would affect revenues at a planned casino in Baltimore.

The votes of the 18 Baltimore lawmakers in the House are important in determining whether a consensus can be reached to hold a special session next month.

Meanwhile, Democratic leaders in the House are scheduled to meet Wednesday in Annapolis to discuss the possibility of holding a special session on gambling this summer.

On Tuesday, Busch met for about two hours with David Cordish, the owner of Maryland’s largest casino in Anne Arundel County. Cordish declined to comment on what was discussed. Joseph Weinberg, president of the Cordish Cos., said they reasserted their opposition to a Prince George’s County casino, which they say would eat heavily into their business.