The Maryland Live! Casino Local Development Council (LDC), like the LDCs in all casino communities, was established by the legislation that created Maryland’s video lottery terminal program.
The statute stipulates that an LDC will be established in each community where a casino is constructed and that it shall be composed of 15 people, including seven community members, four business representatives, two state delegates and one state senator from the district where the casino is located, plus a representative from the casino, all to be named by the county executive (or mayor, in the case of Baltimore City).
All LDCs have the same charges.
- Advise the county regarding spending of the local impact grants provided to communities in proximity to the video lottery facility (currently 4.51% of revenues generated);
- Consult with the county regarding a long-range spending plan to meet the needs of the impacted community;
- Advise the county on the impact of the facility and the needs and priorities of the communities in immediate proximity to the facility; and
- Review the master plan for the development of the site on which the video lottery facility is located.
Anne Arundel County’s LDC was formed in March 2012 under the chairmanship of Mike Caruthers of Somerset Construction. Chairmanship passed to Claire Louder, president and CEO of the West Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce, in December 2014, following the election of County Executive Steve Schuh. The LDC has annually allocated between $15 million and $20 million, and expects to allocate $16 million in fiscal 2016.
In establishing their first spending recommendations, Anne Arundel’s LDC members included an annual grant fund of $100,000 to support the communities surrounding Maryland Live! Casino, an amount that was increased to $250,000 in subsequent years based on higher than expected requests. This fund was initially intended to address neighborhood safety, beautification and community enhancements, but quickly became a coveted source of funding for nonprofit organizations throughout the county.
The LDC is reevaluating its criteria for grant funding to ensure requests support the local area, but no decisions have yet been reached. The council also recently adopted new guidelines, with respect to member attendance and staggered terms.
Questions have been raised regarding the extent to which LDC funds are being used to address issues in the vicinity of the casino, versus replacing funding that the county provided prior to the construction of Maryland Live! The members of the LDC will continue to be active advocates for the funds to be used to address impacts in the local area, specifically on issues that most directly impact residents. Priorities include public safety, transportation, beautification and park development, as well as continued grants to local community organizations.