Allegations that House Speaker Michael Busch lied to both County Exec. Rushern Baker and Gov. O’Malley
Is House Rep. Busch trying to ensure that Anne Arundel County doesn’t have any competition for its new Maryland Live! Casino? Busch is a mentor of sorts to Rushern Baker and the mentee is fuming because all three house delegates voted AGAINST gambling expansion, citing tax issues related to casino owners receiving more of financial stake. The WPost reports Baker saying, ““I was lied to by Busch, yes,” Baker said. He said he had been given assurances by “the speaker and his folks that they could live with the higher rate structure,” that would have allowed casino owners to keep more of the proceeds and pay less to the state. But in the end that proved to be a substantial barrier for the commission that was working out plans for a special session to discuss gambling expansion. “
Governor O’Malley is publicly boiling too and alleging that Busch indicated that if certain conditions were met, the House members on the gambling extension working group would. From the WPost, “The three House members on the work group, all appointed by Busch, dissented, saying they would only support a Prince George’s casino if the state’s existing tax rate stayed in place. The dissent was a strong indication that legislation lacked support in the House, prompting the work group’s recommendation against a special session.”
O’Malley is still kinda saying he wants to hold a special session beginning this July 9th but it’s not a definite as of today. Both Baker point the finger (guess which finger) at Maryland Live! Casino owner David Cordish, saying that he has led a vigorous campaign to ensure that his casino has no competition. And people, I haven’t been inside but if the outside, location, and clientele are ANY indication, David Cordish has reason to be afraid. When, not if, a casino comes to Prince George’s by way of MGM International, it will be an all out destination spot while Maryland Live! is already starting to look like that part of the Vegas strip that rents rooms for under $200 a night. Know-what-I’m-sayin?
I’m not a supporter but I do believe that the MGM site at the National Harbor is inevitable.