In a Wednesday early-afternoon hearing of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, Senator Obie Patterson (District 26 – Prince George’s County) detailed his proposed legislation that would increase the oversight and transparency of Maryland gaming revenue usage.
According to independent analysis from the Maryland Department of Legislative Services on Senate Bill 808: “The bill requires the Joint Committee on Gaming Oversight to study the use of and restrictions on revenue from video lottery terminals (VLTs) and table games that is received by local governments. The committee must make recommendations regarding changes that will make restrictions on the local governments’ use of the revenue more consistent across jurisdictions.”
In his testimony, Senator Patterson (the Senate Chairman of the Joint Committee on Gaming Oversight) noted the timeliness of his legislation and the necessity of increasing transparency in the usage of gaming revenues. He stated: “It is timely that we see how consistent that we are in providing services across the board.” He followed: “We want to make sure that citizens can go online and be able to track exactly how these funds are being used.”
Recent February 2019 estimates from the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Agency indicated that gaming revenue from all six Maryland casinos was $136.8 million for the month. State tax revenues were $57.2 million, with $42.9 million of that going to the Maryland Education Trust Fund.
Joining Senator Patterson in his sponsorship of the legislation is Senate Rules Committee Chairwoman Joanne C. Benson (District 24 – Prince George’s County). The legislation is identically cross-filed in the House of Delegates with House Bill 1416 and sponsored by Delegate Veronica Turner (District 26 – Prince George’s County). House Bill 1416 is currently assigned to the House Rules and Executive Nominations Committee and is pending subsequent consideration.
Having now been heard in its committee of origin, Senate Bill 808 awaits a vote of the Budget and Taxation Committee. All legislation must successfully pass both the Maryland Senate and the Maryland House of Delegates by Sine Die on Monday, April 8th to be sent to Governor Hogan to be approved or vetoed.