Baker's Billion Dollar Casino Idea Draws Early Opposition

Special to Informer | 3/22/2012, 2:50 p.m.

"If legislation passes the General Assembly and, most importantly, is approved by the voters of Prince George's County in the November 2012 General Election, the State Gaming Commission would have the final say in selecting both the site and operator through a RFP process."

Baker was "conflicted" over slots

On his reasons for supporting a gaming facility now, when he has previously been neutral or against gaming during his political career, Baker pointed to the county facing an estimated $126 million dollar deficit in fiscal year 2013 and that deficits are projected to grow in the next two years as well. In addition, Baker notes there is proposed state legislation to shift teacher pensions to the County and that such a shift could cost the county "an additional $100 million annually by 2022."

Baker said he has come "rather reluctantly" over the years to a plan for economic development based on gaming, but he says the needs of his county have caused him to make this decision.

"I think I have been pretty up front over the years," said Baker. "In the legislature, I was pretty consistent, I voted against slots. I was conflicted on the issue ... personally I don't favor gaming. But as county executive I have to weigh all the issues and what's in the best interest for the county."