Maryland’s House of Delegates begins a special session this Thursday, August 9th, and Internet gambling will not be part of the agenda. Last week, House Speaker Michael E. Busch sent out a memo to members that included a brief mention of the possibility of discussing online gambling in the casino expansion measures set for the calendar. In the memo, Busch stated that “a key consideration will be to ensure Maryland has a sustainable gambling program that is competitive with surrounding states.”
The Speaker’s online casino “trial balloon” was short-lived though, deflated quickly as House members did not warm to the idea. Busch’s chief of staff Kristin F. Jones was quoted today saying “After numerous discussions, the House has decided not to include an Internet gaming component in any legislation it advances during the special session.”
The proposal seems to have originated from a wishlist of items provided by the Cordish Companies, owners of the new Maryland Live! land-based casino. Cordish launched a play-for-fun online casino ahead of the opening of their land-based facility in early June.
For now, it looks like “play-for-fun” is as far as the new site will get. But with competition heating up in the Northeast US, such as Delaware’s recent legalization of online gambling, I expect this issue will be back on the agenda in a future session.