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House leadership will discuss gambling Wednesday

All public indications in the last several weeks are that the vote count needed for the General Assembly to approve a gambling expansion this summer has not changed significantly since adjournment of the legislature’s regular session.

But House of Delegates leadership intends to meet Wednesday afternoon, The Washington Post reports, after which the special session picture might come into focus.

Gov. Martin O’Malley is expected to decide soon whether to call a special session that could end with the approval of a National Harbor casino and the legalization of table games, such as blackjack and poker.

But 71 votes are needed in the House to pass such a bill and there is widespread, varied opposition — not only to gambling expansion, but to holding a special session at all.

O’Malley said he hoped to have a draft of a gambling bill ready by the end of last week but still had not produced that draft as of Tuesday afternoon.

A special session would have to be convened, and a bill passed, before Aug. 20, because any legislation that changes Maryland’s casino gambling law is subject to voter approval in November.