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Expanded Gambling Ballot Question Proves To Be A Battle To The End

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)—The battle over Question 7 is intensifying ahead of Election Night. The controversial issue would expand gambling to table games and increase the number of slot machines here in Maryland.

Monique Griego has more on the final push from both sides of the ballot question.

With the election just days away, both sides of Question 7 are making a final push.

The stakes are high for Question 7, a bill to add table games and increase the number of slot machines at Maryland's casinos.

"There's a lot of confusing messages. Each side has spent millions of dollars," said James Brochin, D-Maryland.

The ad war over expanded gambling has been intense.

Saturday, those against Question 7 were still trying to get their message out.

"It's a low road to economic development. It's a race to the bottom," said Heather R. Mizeur, D-Maryland.

Critics question whether money collected in casino taxes would be used to help education and don't like the tax breaks it offers big casinos.

"So we're lowering taxes for multi-millionaire casino operators and in the meantime the legislature increased taxes for Marylanders who make 100,000 or more," Brochin said.

On the other side...

"This is a fight. A battle between states. Maryland and West Virginia," said Jim Murren, MGM CEO.

Supporters believe expanded gambling will bring in much needed jobs and money for education. Both the fire and police unions are getting behind it.

"It creates revenue for the state. Any revenue that can be dedicated to education will free up other revenue sources that the state can channel down into public safety and other priorities," said Jeff Buddle, Maryland Firefighters Association.

They believe if Question 7 loses so does Maryland.

"To us it's a no brainer. It doesn't cost taxpayers anything, and it's something they'll benefit from," said John "Rodney" Bartlett, President of Maryland Fraternal Order of Police.

It's estimated that if Question 7 passes, it will initially generate around $260 million for Maryland.

Part of Question 7 also proposes a sixth casino in Prince George's County.

But a majority of Prince George's County voters would have to approve it.

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