Looking to stake out a position on expanding gambling in the state, the Maryland Chamber of Commerce yesterday said it was forming a five-member committee of former chamber chairmen to study the issue.
"We're not going to be coming to any hasty judgment," said Gene L. Burner, executive vice president of the business group. "We're going to look at how it impacts the business climate and the quality of life."
The Maryland Chamber of Commerce's Chairmen's Council on Gaming in Maryland will be headed by J. Henry Butta, retired president and chief executive officer of C&P; Telephone Co. of Maryland (now Bell Atlantic Maryland).
Other members of the panel are former U.S. Sen. J. Glenn Beall; Richard E. Hug, chairman of Environmental Elements Corp; Thomas H. Sherlock, retired president and chief executive officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Maryland; and Baltimore attorney Ronald E. Creamer.
Various bills were introduced during the last General Assembly to allow casino and riverboat gambling in Maryland.
But consideration was postponed until next year, providing time for a nine-member legislative commission to study the issue during the summer.
The chamber's committee, which is expected to finish its study by September, will consult with academics and experts on gaming issues as well as visit states where casino gambling has been legalized.
A "comprehensive" review of literature and testimony on gaming in the United States will be made, a chamber press release said.