Casinos in Maryland
During this election cycle, one of the biggest issues that voters face on the ballot is one of casinos in Maryland and whether or not table games should be allowed.
Like any hot button campaign issue, the ads both for and against the measure have been running day after day trying to convince voters to vote either way on Question 7, leaving the issue of whether or not it would be a good deal for the state to be a muddy one.
At the heart of the debate is whether or not a portion of the funds from gambling would be earmarked specifically for education, but the issue of casinos is Maryland is also worthy of exploration due to the impact that expanded gambling would have on areas that surround Maryland.
So keep reading to learn more and you’ll see just what we mean.
Question 7: What Exactly Does It Say?
Before diving into the issues at hand, it helps to know exactly what the law in question addresses.
As it stands right now, the casinos that are found throughout various parts of Maryland have slots and video lottery machines that can be played by gamblers throughout the state.
Question 7, which is also known as the Gambling Expansion Question, is a statute that would do exactly what its name says; it would expand the kinds of games that can be played in casinos throughout the state in addition to allowing a new casino to be built in Prince Georges County.
This would bring the total number of casinos in the state to six (there are three in operation and two set to open in the next two years) and give gamblers more options about where to spend their money, which is one of the leading arguments that proponents for the passage of Question 7.
Beyond the issue of whether or not a portion of the revenue generated by expanded gambling would be used to fund education throughout the state, those for the passage of the bill cite a number of other benefits that will end up helping the state in the long run.
More than anything else, those who want expanded gambling for casinos in Maryland make it well known that gamblers often travel out of state to places like West Virginia due to a more diverse range of options.
By adding table games and an additional facility here in Maryland, they say that the state would be able to keep that missed revenue at home.
It wouldn’t just be a question of missed revenue either, they add. Proponents of the passage of Question 7 also cite the fact that it would lead to an increase in jobs; the new casino would need to be built and it, as well as the existing facilities, would need to be staffed throughout the year because passage of the bill would allow for the casinos to be opened 24 hours a day.
According to the Vote for 7 campaign, the leaders in advocacy for passing the bill, the state of Maryland loses $550 million to out of state casinos every year, with a significant portion of that going to West Virginia.
They also argue that expanded gambling for casinos in Maryland might mean more gambling revenue and tourism dollars from Washington DC, as the proposed facility in Prince Georges County would be in close proximity to the nation’s capital.
When you look at the numbers, there seems to be some justification to their claims of increased revenue.
In August of this year, the three existing casinos in the state made $44.6 million, with the recently opened Maryland Live casino in Anne Arundel County making 73 percent of that money.
While the facility has only been open since June, it is already reported to have brought in over $100 million, making it the most profitable of the casinos in Maryland.
Even among the facilities that exist however, there seems to be some strife.
As you can read in the same Baltimore Sun article linked above, the Hollywood Casino in Perryville has lost revenue over time and its owners fear the proposed Prince Georges casino, which would go in National Harbor, might spell further trouble for their existing racetrack as well as the casino they own in West Virginia.
We will know more about the fate of casinos in Maryland come November 6th, but it will be interesting to see what develops either way, as neither side of this argument shows any signs of relenting.