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Poll suggests gambling support in Baltimore, Prince George’s

Poll data released Thursday suggests solid support for expanding gambling among Baltimore and Prince George’s County residents, two groups that have been targeted by casino advocates in a series of radio and television ads.

The poll, commissioned by National Harbor casino advocates, asks respondents questions about most components of a near-agreement on expanded gambling that fell apart before the final meeting of a work group convened by Gov. Martin O’Malley.

Pollsters for Annapolis-based OpinionWorks left out a specific question about lowering the tax rate on slots — though the question is broached as part of a big-picture question detailing the near-agreement.

When told of casino advocates’ projections that adding table games to state facilities could create 3,000 jobs and generate tens of millions of tax dollars, 66 percent of Baltimore respondents and 56 percent of Prince George’s respondents  said they supported the expansion.

When told that MGM Resorts International Inc. was interested in building an $800 million casino at National Harbor that could create 8,400 jobs and draw 70 percent of its customers from out-of-state, 55 percent of Baltimore respondents and 58 percent of Prince George’s respondents said they would support the casino.

When taken altogether — including shifting ownership of slot machines to casino operators and lowering the tax rate on slots by 10 percent — 58 percent of Baltimore respondents and 56 percent of Prince George’s respondents supported expanded gambling in that way.

Another interesting tidbit: those polled couldn’t agree on exactly who should buy slot machines, even though those involved on both sides of the gambling debate have generally supported shifting that responsibility to casino operators.

In Baltimore, 32 percent said the state should pay, while 45 percent said operator should pay. The split was similar in Prince George’s County, where 34 percent said the state should pay and 39 percent said operators should pay. The rest of those polled either didn’t want slots at all, or were not sure.

O’Malley said Tuesday that he had not yet made a final decision on whether to call the General Assembly back to Annapolis for a special session, where legislation that would authorize a voter referendum on gambling could be passed.

One comment

  1. The poll, commissioned by the National Harbor interests……that sounds like the polls taken by an Annapolis firm on the popularily of windfarms. It is not journalism if the media do not check and announce the veracity of these polls. You are simply letting them make a claim that probably has no basis is fact. That doesn’t seem like a good business model.