Maybe voters got tired of hearing about slots

November 03, 2010|By Jay Hancock, The Baltimore Sun

From Jay Hancock's Blog:

The referendum against slots at the mall always was a long shot. The margin of victory for the David Cordish-backed project, however, is surprising, considering how much dough the Jockey Club spent on advertising. It has been buying TV ads -- tons of them -- since August.

I suspect the nonstop ads -- eventually from both sides -- blurred together and prompted voters to draw a larger desire from the slots debate: Make it stop. Make it stop now, please. The best way to do that was to vote for Cordish. Had he lost, we would have been reading and hearing about slots-site debates for years. The Jockey Club would have tried to get a license for Laurel Park. Cordish may have tried for another site. More money would have been blown on lawyers. More neighborhood groups -- the ones in Laurel, this time, especially Russett -- would have gone militant against slots in their neighborhood. Even if you didn't care about slots at the mall, the way to put an end to the noise was to vote for Cordish.

The Jockey Club and other mall-slots opponents made the decision to tout Laurel Park as the alternative site -- saying over and over again in their ads that it was the appropriate place for slots, not the "family" mall. I wonder if that was the right tactic. In doing so they focused attention on the Jockey Club's botched attempt to put slots at the track in the first place. Every time they promoted the track as the right place, the subtext was: "Well, you already had a chance to get slots, and you blew it."

jay.hancock@baltsun.com

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