In a sign that pro-slots fundraising is heating up, the owner of Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park has secured permission from its parent company to use up to $2 million to encourage voters to authorize slot machine gambling in Maryland this November, company officials announced.
Canada-based MI Developments Inc., parent company of track owner Magna Entertainment Corp., will allow the gambling subsidiary to use part of a $100 million loan to "fund costs associated with the up-coming Maryland slots referendum," according to a statement made this week.
Laurel Park is one of five sites that could have slots casinos if voters authorize a constitutional amendment allowing the expansion of gambling. However, Magna is not guaranteed a slots license and would have to compete for one through a bidding process.
Recent polls have shown solid, though dipping, popular support for slots in Maryland, and anti-slots activists have been bracing for a multimillion-dollar onslaught of pro-gambling advertising, funded by gambling interests, as the election nears.
Horse racing interests in Maryland have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the cause, and Penn National, a major gambling company with designs on a Cecil County slots site, has indicated that it will financially support the campaign.