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
We started off this legislative session on a positive note with a very successful Tourism Legislative Day. We had excellent testimony during the hearings on the Tourism Funding bills.
Now, we have to ask you to do one more thing this Session…
The General Assembly is moving toward decision making time on the Office of Tourism and Tourism Development Board budget. As you know, the Governor has asked the legislature to cut the Tourism Development Board’s marketing budget by $1 M.
However, the legislature’s budget analysts have asked the legislators to further cut the MTDB budget back to $2.5 million and not fund the legislatively mandated grants to the DMO’s until FY2013.
What we need you to do…
Annapolis, MD—The Maryland Tourism Council and Maryland Destination Marketing Organizations have organized Tourism Day, Friday, Feb. 5 in Annapolis to connect tourism professionals with their elected officials in the legislature to heighten the awareness of tourism’s economic impact in the State and to ask for full funding of the $6 million mandate for the Maryland Tourism Development Board to market the State’s tourism products, services, and industry.
The Maryland Office of Tourism is responsible for marketing the State’s many tourism assets and building the State’s visibility as a desirable tourism and meeting destination and for the last year has operated on a budget of just $2.7 million, the lowest marketing budget since the early 1980’s. Maryland not only competes with surrounding states for tourism and travel dollars but tourism within Maryland is a significant job and revenue provider which is challenged when there are not sufficient funds to market “America in miniature,” a popular nickname for Maryland. Continue reading