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Lottery commission may have met for last time

(Photo: J. Kirby Fowler Jr., chairman of the Maryland State Lottery Commission)

Thursday morning may have marked the final meeting of the Maryland State Lottery Commission.

The nine-member panel will become the State Lottery and Gaming Control Commission on Oct. 1, a change spelled out in the General Assembly’s expanded gambling legislation, passed and signed by Gov. Martin O’Malley in August.

The commission’s next scheduled meeting is Oct. 18.

The name change means a reduction in commissioners — the new panel will have just seven members. Lottery Director Stephen L. Martino said the name change better reflects what the commission has done for the last several years, since voters approved Maryland’s casino program in 2008.

Members of the commission could either be reappointed or replaced. Martino said he was unaware of a timeline for such action.

J. Kirby Fowler Jr., chairman of the lottery commission, said he has had some discussions with the governor’s office about remaining a member of the panel. But, while he said he would like to stay involved, he stressed that no decisions had been made.

One change that does appear clear is that, if a majority of voters approve the legalization of table games such as black jack and a sixth state casino license for use in Prince George’s County, the busy Maryland State Lottery Agency will receive some much-needed reinforcements.

Gina Smith, deputy director and chief financial officer of the lottery, told the commission that expanded gambling meant expanded staff.

“You will see that our agency will grow significantly if that happens,” Smith said.

Charles LaBoy, the lottery’s assistant director for gaming, said that if voters approve Question Seven on Nov. 6, he would be ready to present a “package of regulations” dealing with table games, electronic bingo machines at veterans halls and similar machines at seven bars in Anne Arundel and Calvert counties legalized by SB 864 during the legislature’s regular session.