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Lucky 7 or snake eyes? Gambling expansion wins in Maryland
Question of the Day
Riverdale Park resident Adrianne Lefkowitz said all the money spent to make voters aware of Question 7 is “kind of a shame,” since there are so many more important issues in the state and on the ballot. The congressional redistricting map, in-state college tuition rates for some illegal immigrants and legalization of same-sex marriage are all vital issues, she said, but didn’t receive the same spotlight as casino gambling.
Gambling entities such as Caesars — which will be building the Baltimore casino — and MGM — which has already announced its intention to bid for the potential National Harbor casino — have pledged millions to the fight to expand gambling in the state.
Donating millions to the fight against the ballot issue is Penn National Inc. — which runs Maryland’s Perryville casino as well as the Hollywood Casino in Charles Town, W.Va., about a 90-minute drive from the District. Analysts have said that a full-service casino with both slots and table games in Prince George’s County could have a significant impact on the West Virginia casino’s traffic and revenues.
Meanwhile, the fight over gambling drew many high-profile backers and detractors. The issue was initially pushed through the General Assembly by state Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., Prince George’s Democrat, who has not played a significant role in the campaign since the issue made it to the ballot. Mr. Baker, Montgomery County Executive Isiah “Ike” Leggett and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, all Democrats, have backed the expansion since the beginning.Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley, who started the year with an agnostic view on gambling expansion, ended the summer by calling the August special session to put the issue on the ballot. He has appeared in a commercial promising that gambling expansion will raise money for schools. And in an unconventional sort of endorsement, the Washington Redskins — who play at FedEx Field in Prince George’s County — have also thrown their support behind the issue.
Leading the opposition to the issue has been state Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot, a Democrat. Along with Mr. Franchot, state Delegate Heather Mizeur, Montgomery Democrat; state Sen. C. Anthony Muse, Prince George’s Democrat; and high-ranking Republicans in state government have opposed it.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Megan Poinski is the former deputy metro editor at The Washington Times. She has worked as a reporter, editor and web designer for more than a decade, covering mostly local, state and federal government in Ohio, Maryland and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Throughout her career, she has received reporting awards from the Scripps Howard Foundation, Capitolbeat, and Associated Press Managing ...
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