Two more questions about Question 7


Maryland teachers have mixed feelings abut expanded gambling; casinos could stay open all night. (Mark Gail/The Washington Post)
November 3, 2012

Education is key to the claims of both sides in Maryland’s battle over expanded gambling. Supporters of Question 7 offer promises of more education funding. Opponents say those claims can’t be believed. And both sides have enlisted Maryland teachers to advance their arguments in a slew of television ads.

So, where exactly do Maryland teachers stand on Question 7?

We tackle this and one other issue in our last round of reader questions about Question 7, which appears on the ballot on Tuesday. Previously, we’ve looked at issues such as how much revenue the ballot measure is expected to generate and what would happen if voters in Prince George’s County break against it.

Question 7 would allow a new Las Vegas-style casino in Prince George’s, as well as table games, such as black jack and roulette, at Maryland’s five previously designated slots locations.

At its state convention on Oct. 20, the Maryland State Education Association, the state’s largest teachers lobby, debated a motion to endorse Question 7.

Under MSEA rules, the group endorses only measures that at least 58 percent of its delegates support. After some debate, delegates in favor of the measure were asked to stand, and it became clear that the backing did not meet the threshold, MSEA officials said.

“That left us with no position,” said Sean Johnson, managing director of political and legislative affairs for MSEA.

Johnson said the debate among the teachers group mirrored the conflict over the issue among the public but with “much less cynicism” about claims that politicians are making about education funding. In their campaign ads, opponents have questioned whether the claims of several leading Maryland politicians should be believed.

Does Question 7 affect the hours that Maryland casinos may be open?

Yes.

If Question 7 passes, casinos in Maryland will be permitted to stay open 24 hours. Under current law, they must close at 2 a.m. on weeknights and 4 a.m. on weekends.

Nonpartisan legislative staff estimate that the change could increase total revenue at casinos by nearly $40 million next fiscal year. During fiscal year 2017, that figure is projected to grow to about $85 million.

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