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Senate gives preliminary OK to gambling bill

ANNAPOLIS — The Maryland Senate has given preliminary approval to expanding gambling to allow table games like blackjack and a new casino near the nation’s capital.

The Senate, which took a recess on Friday until 6 p.m., planned to take a vote in the evening.

Senators spent much of the afternoon rejecting amendments, including one that would have lifted a provision in the bill to ban political contributions from casino owners.

Gov. Martin O’Malley included the ban in the measure he has submitted to the Legislature. The governor wanted it to apply to contributions from casino owners and certain employees of gambling companies, but a Senate committee changed the provision to include people with 5 percent ownership in a casino.