Talking to reporters at the State House this week, O'Malley pledged to "reach out beyond the Democratic leadership" in the House to "resolve this issue with some greater and longer-lasting permanence and predictability."
It is unclear whether 71 votes could be found in the lower chamber to expand gambling. House Republican leaders wrote a letter to Busch in May saying that their 43-member caucus would not support a gambling bill in a special session.
"That has not changed," said House Republican leader Anthony J. O'Donnell of Southern Maryland. "If we are going to deal with these issues, we should not deal with them in the context of a special session. We will not rush through a bill. There is no crisis here."
That means the votes would have to come from the 98-member House Democratic caucus, which appears to be philosophically split on gambling. Opposition is particularly strong from some African-American members who oppose gambling on moral grounds, reflecting the views of influential religious leaders in their districts.
The logistical difficulty of rounding up the state's 188 part-time lawmakers is an issue, said House Democratic leader Kumar P. Barve of Montgomery County.
Members are charged with being in Annapolis for the regular 90-day session each January through early April. This year, members postponed summer plans to clear time for O'Malley's originally proposed special session the week of July 9. Some are now locked into vacations or other commitments that will take them out of the state or country.
"Without passing judgment on the issue," Barve said, "it is hard in July and August to do these things."