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Penn National spends another $4 million

A day after proponents of Maryland’s casino gambling expansion surpassed the spending of lone dissenter Penn National Gaming Inc., the Pennsylvania-based gambling company ponied up another $4 million to stop the expansion and retake the money lead.

Penn National has dumped $25.1 million into its campaign account, Get the Facts – Vote No on 7. The committee has spent $20.1 million of that money on advertising trying to influence voters opinion on the deal struck to allow a Prince George’s County casino, most likely at National Harbor, and table games at all Maryland gambling sites.

Potential National Harbor casino developer MGM Resorts International Inc., CBAC Gaming LLC, the Baltimore casino licensee led by Caesars Entertainment Corp., National Harbor developer The Peterson Cos. and apartment developer Bozzuto & Associates Inc. have combined to pump $22.1 million into For Maryland Jobs and Schools Inc., which has spent $17.8 million on pro-referendum advertising.

Experts and elected officials expect Penn National to spend close to $40 million opposing the referendum. The company spent $38 million opposing a limited casino program in Ohio in 2008. Penn National feared an Ohio casino might diminish revenue at Penn National’s Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg in Indiana, according to reports at the time.

After helping defeat that ballot measure, the company spent about $23 million to support an Ohio casino program in 2009 after being assured that it could bid for casino licenses there. The company now operates casinos in Toledo and Columbus.

Penn National believes it won’t be given a fair chance to build a casino at Rosecroft Raceway in Prince George’s County and fears a facility at National Harbor, a location backed by powerful state politicians, would hurt the bottom line of Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races in West Virginia.

The company opened Maryland’s first casino, Hollywood Casino Perryville in Cecil County, in 2010.