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Gambling supporters spend $1.9 million on referendum

The ballot-issue committee supporting an expansion of Maryland’s casino gambling program has already spent $1.9 million, according to state elections filings.

The group, For Maryland Jobs and Schools Inc., is being funded by MGM Resorts International Inc., the casino developer that wants to build a 3,000-slot resort gambling site at National Harbor in Prince George’s County.

Television and radio ads paid for by the group are airing statewide.

The gambling expansion, if approved by voters on Nov. 6, would also legalize table games such as blackjack and poker at every casino in the state.

Penn National Gaming Inc., operator of Hollywood Casino Perryville, joined the ballot fight Wednesday, when it registered a committee called Get the Facts – Vote No on 7.

MGM had donated $2.4 million to the supportive ballot committee as of Friday. Penn National’s committee has not yet filed a financial disclosure, but a full-page ad from the company was printed in The Baltimore Sun on Thursday.

Karen Bailey, a Penn National spokeswoman, said “more info on the committee will be forthcoming in the coming days.”