Report: Maryland governor won't call special session to expand state's casino industry


Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley won’t call a special session of the legislature next week to try and expand state’s casino industry.

Instead, the Baltimore Sun reported, O’Malley will continue trying to negotiate a deal that would allow Maryland to add a sixth casino in the southern part of the state, an official close to the governor told the newspaper.

MGM Resorts International had proposed building an $800 million hotel-casino complex in suburban Maryland at National Harbor in Prince George's County, about 10 miles from the Capitol in Washington. D.C.

O'Malley said Tuesday that his time line for calling a special session had "slipped" after a work group he convened to hash out details on the issue failed to reach a consensus.

The working group appointed by O'Malley had two major issues to discuss: adding a sixth gaming license though only three of five planned casinos are operating, and cutting the state's industry-high 67 percent tax on gross gaming revenues.

In June, MGM Resorts said it reached agreement with Peterson Cos., which developed the 350-acre National Harbor area on the Potomac River south of Washington, D.C., to build a hotel-casino complex.

The National Harbor complex is a high-end mix of offices, residences, shopping and dining. It is also home to the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center. An MGM Resort economic study prepared for lawmakers showed the casino would provide Maryland with $347 million annually in new tax revenues.

MGM Resorts Chairman Jim Murren said the company "remained willing" to see the project to fruition.

Much of the O’Malley’s focus this past week has been on the aftermath of a rare storm that plowed through the state, leaving hundreds of thousands without power.