- The Washington Times - Friday, May 11, 2012

Maryland officials are forming a work group to study the potential effects of expanded gambling on the state in advance of a possible July special session.

Gov. Martin O'Malley sent a letter Friday to Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., Prince George’s Democrat, and House Speaker Michael E. Busch, Anne Arundel Democrat, asking their help in assembling an 11-member panel. The body would have until June 20 to study the issue and make public recommendations.

Mr. Miller has led support for a bill this year that would expand the state’s current slots program by legalizing table games and adding a casino in Prince George’s County, making it the state’s sixth planned gambling facility.

The proposal, which would have to be approved the General Assembly and by referendum, passed the Senate this year but died in the House.

Mr. O'Malley, a Democrat, has said he could call a special session in July if lawmakers appear intent on passing a bill this year. The governor and House leaders have bristled at the proposal over concerns that a new casino could hurt slots revenues and take business from other state sites.

The 11-member work group will include three Senate members, three House members and five appointees by the governor.