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Voters Almost Evenly Divided Over Expanded Gambling At National Harbor

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PatWarrenWebPhoto Pat Warren
Pat Warren joined the Eyewitness News team in 1992. Pat came to WJZ...
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PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY Md. (WJZ)—There are new voices in the controversial expanded gambling debate. Groups in Prince George’s County are in a tug-of-war over putting a new casino at National Harbor.

Political reporter Pat Warren looks at the possible impact statewide.

WJZ found gamers at Maryland Live! looking forward to a new casino in Prince George’s County.

“We’d probably go to both,” one gamer said.

“We just hope Maryland accepts table games,” said another.

Prince George’s business and economy boosters are throwing their support behind the gambling referendum.

“Visitors will come here, spend their money, go home, and we don’t have to put their kids in school,” said Matt Neitzy, Prince George’s County Visitors Bureau.

But the NIMBY bug is biting residents at National Harbor. NIMBY, by the way, means Not In My Backyard.

“We don’t like the element that some gambling casinos bring in. We think there’s other ways to make revenue,” said Deb Mahon, National Harbor resident.

The business and economic community may be saying yes to expanded gambling, but some of the people who live here, especially at National Harbor, are saying no.

“But we don’t have the kind of money to put forth an initiative like this to fight it,” Mahon said.

Question 7 is the most expensive political ad campaign in Maryland history, and gambling interests with millions to spend are fighting the locals battles for them.

The mayor of Forest Heights is grateful for the Vote No campaign.

“What I needed to have was a voice for the people in this area,” said Mayor Jacqueline Goodall. “We did not have a voice, and now we have a voice.”

The greater Prince George’s Chamber of Commerce and Business roundtable benefits from the Vote Yes.

The Gonzales Poll released this week found voters almost evenly divided on expanded gambling.

It’s a statewide election but the General Assembly has expressed intent to honor the wishes of Prince George’s County voters.

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