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Campaigns For And Against Expanded Gambling Attempt To Sway Voters With Ads

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Pat Warren joined the Eyewitness News team in 1992. Pat came to WJZ...
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)– Lots of money is being spent to influence Maryland voters for and against a new casino at National Harbor.

Political reporter Pat Warren has the latest on the positions the two sides are taking as they battle it out in advertising.

“It’ll start out as concrete and steel,” one ad says.

It’s already started. The advocates and opponents of expanded gambling are fighting for your vote.

The General Assembly heard from both sides as it was deciding on a gaming bill. Now, the target is voters who will decide whether to approve a casino at National Harbor.

“It pulls you back and forth, each commercial,” voter Tiffany Parsons said.

“Two thousands construction jobs to build it,” advocates one television commercial.

The ad paid for by a group called Maryland Jobs and Schools never mentions National Harbor, but you can guess.

In a full page newspaper ad that appears in The Baltimore Sun, Penn National Gaming pens an open letter to announce its opposition to a sixth casino calling it a “deeply flawed bill” and that it is a virtual sole source contract for a casino at the National Harbor which ensures the demise of Rosecroft. It says the bill was shockingly rushed through, and now that it must be approved by a referendum, the organization has no choice to join other citizens and business owners to educate Maryland voters of the deficiencies of the bill. It adds that Maryland would generate more tax revenue if the law were to remain the same as opposed to giving tax breaks to casino operators.

Penn National loves it here, it says, and hopes that that’s not forgotten in a campaign, pointing out ways where Maryland government can do it better.

“It’s going to be one ad after another. And as we approach November, there’s just gonna be more and more of them,” political analyst Matt Crenson said.

Caesar’s, which has the Baltimore City license, will not oppose expanded gambling but Maryland Live! Casino in Anne Arundel County will.

Penn National operates the Perryville Hollywood Casino and owns Rosecroft Raceway in Prince George’s County.

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