Casino campaign tops $93 million

November 27, 2012|By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun

With a few reports from smaller campaign committees still not filed late Tuesday, the tally of money spent on this year's battle royale over gambling expansion in Maryland has passed $93 million. 

With a final surge, the winning proponents of table games and a new casino in Prince George's County surpassed their opponent -- Penn National Gaming -- in the last weeks of the campaign. The deadline for filing was midnight. 

For Maryland Jobs and Schools, the proponents' main committee, reported $19.2 million in spending in the final weeks -- most of its supplied by MGM Resort International. Penn National spent about $14 million in the same period.

Over the course of the campaign, MGM and its allies -- mainly Peterson Cos. and an affiliate of Caesars Entertainment -- spent at least $49.4 million on For Maryland Jobs and Schools and a handful of smaller committees. Penn National's committee spent $44.1 million.

The ballot proposition passed by a 52 percent to 48 percent margin after what was by far the most expensive campaign in Maryland history. MGM is the prospective operator of a casino at National Harbor, while Peterson is the developer of the Prince George's complex. Caesars wanted table games for the casino it plans to open in downtown Baltimore.

Penn National has a casino in West Virginia and a racetrack in Prince George's, Rosecroft, that could be hurt by competition from National Harbor.

A few straggling reports could raise the total spending figures by a million or two, but it appears unlikely the campaign will pass the $100 million mark.

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