The Senate has always been more warm to gambling than the House. This proposal was particularly easy to get through the chamber because it had tremendous backing from Senate President Mike Miller.
As Miller noted after the final vote: "They (the House) had a much more difficult path than myself."
Miller said he sees the legislation as "a win-win for the people of the state of Maryland."
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- Casino and Gambling Industry
- Prince George's County
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Asked if he sees it as a personal victory, Miller said: "No, not whatsoever. In fact I'm not going to be at the bill signing."
Gov.Martin O'Malleywas scheduled to sign the bill Wednesday morning. Miller had a family commitment.
"It's an important bill, but nothing's more important than family," Miller said.
If the Prince George's County casino is approved by the voters, it will be open to a competitive bidding process. Bids are limited to a location in the county "within 4 miles of the intersection of Bock Road and St. Barnabas Road," which encompasses both National Harbor and Rosecroft Raceway.
Baker backs the National Harbor location for the casino, which has draw interest from MGM Resorts International, the world's largest casino operator.
Miller, too, has expressed support for National Harbor. But after the vote Wednesday, he said: "I'm also for the Rosecroft site. ... I wish there were some way they could share the machines, personally."
One of the obstacles to Rosecroft being selected is that its owner, Penn National Gaming, is the operator of Hollywood Casino in Perryville, and state law prevents a company from holding more than one slots license.
However, Penn National representatives have noted other obstacles they face. In written testimony submitted last week to the House Ways and Means Committee, Eric Schippers, Penn Nation's senior vice president for public affairs, said he believes Baker and National Harbor developer Milt Peterson have reached an agreement behind closed doors.
"Absent a public statement to the contrary, it is our belief that even if we were to be awarded a license, the county executive would utilize his authority to withhold the necessary zoning for us to construct a facility," Schippers wrote.