MGM adds about $8 million to gambling campaign account

Supporters and opponents of expanding gambling in Maryland have combined to put $65.4 million into campaign accounts, according to the most recent campaign finance filing with the Maryland State Board of Elections.

MGM Resorts International Inc., which wants to build a Las Vegas-style casino at National Harbor in Prince George’s county, deposited a check for $7.7 million into the ballot issue committee For Maryland Jobs and Schools Inc. That brought MGM’s spending on its pro-expansion campaign to $29.5 million.

CBAC Gaming LLC, a group licensed to build a Baltimore casino and led by Caesars Entertainment Corp., has contributed $4.6 million to the account. The Peterson Cos., master developer of National Harbor, has contributed $1.7 million.

Those contributions bring the account’s total to $35.8 million. When combined with a separate committee started by former Prince George’s County Executive Wayne K. Curry, supporters of Maryland’s expanded gambling law have committed $36.3 million to that cause.

Penn National Gaming Inc. is the only company to spend money in opposition to expanded gambling. The Pennsylvania-based company has put $29.1 million into ballot issue committee Get the Facts – Vote No on 7.

A “yes” vote for Question 7 would allow the construction of a casino in Prince George’s County and the legalization of table games at every Maryland casino. Penn is fighting the law because it believes Rosecroft Raceway, a facility it owns in Fort Washington, will not be seriously considered as a location for Maryland’s sixth authorized casino.

Without that business, Penn fears it will take a financial hit because Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races in Charles Town, W.Va., draws many of its players from the Washington suburbs.

Gambling-related television and radio advertising has been airing in Maryland since before the General Assembly passed a bill in August that set the framework for gambling expansion, with proponents taking to the airwaves first to encourage voters to ask their legislators to support the bill. Opponents took to the airwaves shortly after Gov. Martin O’Malley signed the bill into law, setting up a Nov. 6 referendum.

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