Pro-gambling forces take to Md. airwaves


Milton Peterson, the developer of National Harbor, stands at the site where he wants to build a high-end casino. (Astrid Riecken — For The Washington Post)

A radio ad touting the additional dollars and jobs that could come with a new casino and authorization of table games started airing Friday on stations around the state. A representative of the group behind the ad, For Maryland Jobs & Schools, said TV spots will go up next week.

The group is seeking to win voter approval for a plan passed last week by the General Assembly that would allow a sixth Maryland casino in Prince George’s County, as well as table games, such as blackjack and roulette, at all existing slots sites.

“If we don’t act now, all that money and all those jobs will go to West Virginia, Delaware and Pennsylvania,” says the radio spot.

Maryland Jobs & Schools bills itself as “a coalition of like-minded Maryland citizens, workers and businesses” that endorses what will be Question 7 on Maryland’s busy November ballot.

Donors to the group should become public shortly. A statement filed earlier this week listed no contributors but a $78,580 “obligation” incurred by the group.

The radio ad was distributed by the same public affairs firm that represented parties interested in a casino site at National Harbor, including labor groups. The developer of the 300-acre mini-city on the Potomac River has lined up MGM Resorts to run a potential casino there.

The ad does not mention National Harbor, referring only to a “world-class site.”

Under the legislation, the state would accept bids from a swath of Prince George’s that includes both National Harbor and Rosecroft Raceway.

The owner of Rosecroft, Penn National Gaming, has vowed to oppose the ballot measure, arguing that the bidding process is stacked against them because Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) has championed National Harbor as a casino site.

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

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