Governor O'Malley has released details on a bill that could bring another casino to Maryland.
Opponents say they're getting ready to try and block the plan.
The bill calls for a casino to be built in the Oxen Hill area -- both the "National Harbor" development and Rosecroft Raceway are inside the designated area.
Governor O'Malley and allies in the General Assembly could not come to an agreement during the regular session earlier this year, so the governor called the special session.
News of the debate has reached people who live some 75 miles away in Harford County.
“I think it's good because it will bring money to the state in a new way because the state needs money, and it might lower taxes so it would be good,” said resident Ian Dowding.
Kristen Astarita agreed: “I think that having another one built here in Maryland or in PG County. We will all benefit from the new investment that Maryland does.”
But Deanna said Maryland already has enough casinos. “”It's a little crazy to be putting more slots out there and people are going into debt losing their houses, it's crazy,” she said.
State Senator Nancy Jacobs, a Republican who represents Harford County, says details about the Prince George's County plan have been hammered out in private.
“It's all behind closed doors,” she said. “We were supposed to get a bill a week ago.”
She believes Governor O’Malley has used that time to sweeten the deal for skeptical delegates in Prince George's County -- many of whom have never supported the casino plan.
“They want to shove this through, ram this through, down the people's throats and that's wrong. Pure and simple that's wrong,” Sen. Jacobs said.
The bill would also allow for table games to be added to the state's casinos, and compensate the existing casinos for the increased competition from the Prince George’s location.
But the news comes just as the operator of the state's first casino -- in Perryville -- has asked for hundreds of its machines to be taken off line. Business there has dropped significantly since the opening of the Maryland Live casino near Arundel Mills Mall earlier this year.
“I just don't really think it's necessary. The one in Perryville's not doing well now and I just don't think we need more casinos. And I really didn't think we needed the ones to begin with,” said Harford County resident Earl Grey.
If the bill passes during the special session, it only authorizes a referendum on the issue, which you would see on the November ballot.
It would have to pass statewide -- and a majority of Prince George's County voters would also have to approve the referendum or the plan would fail.
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