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Big three in Md. politics to meet Tuesday

Maryland's three most influential lawmakers are set to meet for a breakfast pow-wow Tuesday morning at Government House, Gov. Martin O'Malley's Annapolis residence.

On the  menu is a frank discussion of the state's gambling program and prospects for a summertime special session aimed at expanding it to include a sixth casino and table games like poker and blackjack.

In addition to O'Malley, House Speaker Michael E. Busch and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller are on the invite list. The governor lifted expectations Monday, saying at a press gaggle that the chances for a "consensus" on another casino exceed 50-50.

Annapolis insiders aren't convinced. A number of top lobbyists, lawmakers and business leaders believe there simply is not enough time left for the governor to develop a gambling proposal, build support for it and call 188 lawmakers back to the state capital.

Major changes to the gambling program must go before the voters in November, and the deadline for putting a question on the ballot is August 20. There are two major legislative conference between now and then -- which means the only realistic dates for a special session are next week or the week after.

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