MGM, Caesars, Penn Nation Spend A Fortune On Casino Commericials On Question 7

5:57 PM, Oct 10, 2012   |    comments
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BETHESDA, Md. (WUSA) -- Hard numbers now to explain why so many of us are so sick of all those casino ads.

Two groups of casinos lobbying Maryland voters have spent more money than has ever been spent before on a campaign in the state, a record almost $36-million dollars to influence Maryland voters.

And there are still 27 days until the election.

It's gotten so bad, the two sides are spending much of their money just blasting the other sides commercials. Even politicians are sick of it. "They drive me nuts," says Maryland State Sen. Brian Frosh (D-Montgomery). "I want to watch the ball game. I don't want to hear about casinos."

Penn National, which owns a casino in West Virginia, has spent $21.6 million dollars to defeat plans for expanded gaming in Maryland. MGM, Caesars, and the owners of National Harbor have spent almost $18 million.

"They generate nothing of value," says Frosh. "There's no educational content in any of them. They might as well set the money on fire. At least they've warmed people up."

The companies have already gambled more money than was spent in Maryland's fiercest governor's race between Martin O'Malley and Gov. Bob Ehrlich in 2006.

Trouble is, the ads seem to work. Penn National outspent its rivals by $12 million in Ohio -- and won reports the Baltimore Sun.
Experts say all the spending makes perfect sense from a business perspective. "If you project five or six years down the road," says James Karmel, a professor at Harford Community College, "you're talking about hundreds of millions of dollars in casino revenue that could either be directed toward a Washington, DC casino or a Charles Town, WV casino."

So the casino companies are likely to keep spending right up to Election Day.

There's a race for President on, for Senate, for Congress. In Maryland, there's same-sex marriage, Congressional redistricting, the Dream Act. But activists fear all of that is getting drowned out in the constant drone of commercials from these colossal gaming companies.

Written and Reported by Bruce Leshan
9News Now &
Twitter: @BruceLeshan

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