The Gambling Expansion Workgroup met earlier this week to receive reports from the Department of Legislative Services and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The combined report from both said allowing table games at Maryland casinos would mitigate the impact of a sixth casino in Prince George’s County on casinos in Arundel Mills and in Baltimore City.
Harford County Executive David Craig appeared before the Workgroup and suggested that that Harford County be included in the mix of options for a new casino location if the Workgroup does recommend a Special General Assembly Session on expanded gambling.
The Workgroup also heard from the owner of the Casino at Ocean Downs who asked for a loosening of restrictions on its’ entertainment activities and to lower the tax rate to a rate comparable to the yet-to-open casino at Rocky Gap. Echoing testimony from Rocky Gap representatives at the first Workgroup meeting, Ocean Downs does not have a position on a Prince George’s casino.
The third and final Workgroup meeting is June 20.
At that meeting Workgroup members are to take action on final recommendations for consideration at a Special General Assembly Session that may be held on:
- Expanded gambling options in Maryland
- Changes to Maryland’s gaming control structures based on reviews of similar structures in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Delaware.
If that Special Session is called, all indications are it will be held the week of July 9.
As always please contact me if you have any questions, comments or need more information.
MTC President & CEO
As we told you last week, the Senate subcommittee that has jurisdiction over the Maryland Office of Tourism/Maryland Tourism Development Board met yesterday and voted to cut the MTDB budget from the mandated $6M to $4M. They then further restricted $300,000 to be spent to keep open specific Welcome Centers: Pocomoke, Crain Highway, I-70 East and West and Mason Dixon, which essentially cut the marketing budget to $3.7. Out of that $3.7M, the Maryland Tourism Development Board must fund $2.5M in marketing grants to the counties next year, which leaves $1.2M for the Maryland Tourism Development Board to use to market the State of Maryland to potential tourists.
Please call the members of the Maryland Budget and Taxation Committee today (the final vote in the Senate Committee is scheduled for Thursday) and tell them to vote to fully fund the Tourism Development Board at $6M.
Senate Budget and Taxation Committee
Senator Ulysses Currie, Prince Georges County, 410-841-3127
Senator Edward J. Kasemeyer, Baltimore-Howard, 410-841-3653
Senator David Brinkley, Frederick, Carroll, 410-841-3704
Senator James DeGrange, Anne Arundel, 410-841-3593
Senator George Edwards, Allegany, Garrett, Wash., 410-841-3565
Senator Verna Jones, Baltimore City, 410-841-3612
Senator Nancy King, Montgomery, 410-841-3686
Senator Richard Madaleno, 410-841-3137
Senator Nathaniel McFadden, Baltimore City, 410-841-3165
Senator Donald Munson, Washington County, 410-841-3609
Senator Douglas Peters, Prince Georges, 410-841-3631
Senator James Robey, Howard, 410-841-3572
Senator Lowell Stoltzfus, Somerset, Wicomico,Worcester, 410-841-3645
Senator Bobby Zirkin, Baltimore County, 410-841-3131
During the last Legislative Session, the Maryland General Assembly voted to fully fund the Maryland Tourism Development Board’s marketing budget at $6M. Since that time, due to the State’s severe budget crisis, the Board of Public Works has reduced that fund to $2.7M. This means that the State Office of Tourism has less than half of the budgeted amount for marketing the State’s tourism industry.
The Governor and the Office of Budget and Management is working on next year’s budget to be submitted to the General Assembly in January.
IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT THE TOURISM INDUSTRY WRITE TO THE GOVERNOR AND ASK FOR FULL FUNDING OF BOTH THE MARYLAND TOURISM DEVELOPMENT BOARD’S BUDGET AND THE OFFICE OF TOURISM’S BUDGET.
Download this 2-page draft Letter to the Governor. Please use it to write to the Governor on YOUR stationery, (be sure to edit paragraph 5), tell him about your business and why tourism marketing funding is so important. TODAY.
Thank you for your help, and please mark your calendar for two very important legislative dates: January 18, is the “Taste of Maryland,” Tourism’s reception for the legislators. And, February 5, we will be going to Annapolis and educating legislators about tourism issues.
This is your industry, and never has your help been needed more.