Labor-backed radio ad asks for more casino consideration


A view of Nation Harbor. (Photo by Linda Davidson/The Washington Post)

So begins a radio ad that began airing Friday that urges Maryland lawmakers to pick up the pieces of this week’s collapse of a work group plan that would allow a casino in Prince George’s County.

The spot, on stations in Baltimore and Annapolis, is paid for by a coalition of labor and other business interests, led by the Washington DC Building Trades Council, a major booster of a proposed casino at National Harbor, which could generate jobs for its members.

“Maryland gaming is falling way behind Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia – with our dollars leaving home to support their teachers and their police officers,” says the ads, which asks legislators to allow Marylanders to vote on an gambling expansion plan that would also authorize Las Vegas-style table games at the state’s existing slots sites.

The ad also highlights the demise, at least for now, of a provision in a plan developed by a work group that was designed to get the state out of the business of procuring slot machines for private casino owners. Maryland is one of only a few states with such an arrangement, and it has proven far more costly than anticipated.

The radio spot is among a flurry of efforts to try to influence the gambling debate.

A campaign-style mailer in recent weeks asked recipients to call their legislators to stop “the Maryland tax give-away.”

Sent by the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, the mailer objected to a provision in the work group plan that would lower the taxes paid by some casino operators to reflect the greater competition that comes with a Prince George’s facility.

The flier featured a photo of a wad of cash next to a gentleman dressed in a black suit, holding a cigar and sipping a drink.

“Do you support tax CUTS for casino operators when YOUR taxes are going up,” it asked.

John Wagner has covered Maryland government and politics for The Post since 2004.

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