The Cordish Cos.-backed group campaigning for passage of a November referendum on slots at Arundel Mills mall began airing television ads this week touting "thousands of new jobs — jobs that our county needs" and "better schools for our kids."
A narrator lists the windfall that Anne Arundel purportedly would receive from slots — "4,000 new, good-paying jobs … $400 million a year for school construction … $30 million for police, fire and critical county services," backed by images of construction workers and schoolchildren sitting before laptop computers. The 30-second ad features county residents from Glen Burnie and Brooklyn Park.
Through the ads, said Todd Lamb, campaign manager for Jobs & Revenue for Anne Arundel County, the group hopes to convince voters that those benefits would be in jeopardy if they reject a slots casino at the mall site.
"When Anne Arundel citizens understand that it's now or never, the answer is simple: Vote for Question A," he said.
The Cordish Cos., a Baltimore-based firm, wants to build a 4,750-machine slots casino adjacent to Arundel Mills mall. Though the County Council has approved zoning for the slots parlor, the developer has faced opposition from residents near the mall.
Opponents of locating the casino at the mall site are being backed financially by the Maryland Jockey Club, which hopes to revitalize Laurel Park by situating the county's slots facility at the racetrack.
David Jones, a spokesman for the opposition group No Slots at the Mall, said the ad "exaggerates and distorts the facts."
"[Cordish] does not want voters to know that they will have a choice where slots will go in Anne Arundel County," Jones said.
The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled in July that the ballot referendum on the zoning ordinance allowing slots at the mall should go forward, reversing a lower court decision that the zoning was tied to an appropriations bill and therefore could not be put to a vote.
Danielle Babcock, a spokeswoman for Jobs & Revenue, did not reply to questions about the cost of the ad or where it would air. In a written statement, the group said the TV ad, part of a multimedia campaign, "will directly address the misinformation disseminated in opposition advertising."
The statement said the casino will be located in a separate building, "not inside the mall," and that other locations, including Laurel Park, "are no longer viable options."
The ad is posted online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3H1hsY9PG8.
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