WAMU 88.5 : News

Maryland Approves Gambling Expansion

Prince George's County celebrates with fireworks

Play associated audio
Rushern Baker addresses a crowd supporting the Maryland gambling expansion referendum in Prince George's County on election night.
Jacob Fenston
Rushern Baker addresses a crowd supporting the Maryland gambling expansion referendum in Prince George's County on election night.

Voters in Maryland approved expanding gambling in the state, allowing table games like poker, as well as the construction of a sixth casino in Prince George's County. The measure passed 52 percent to 48 percent — likely due to record campaign spending on the ballot question. 

When Marylanders first voted to allow gambling in the state four years ago, it was a landslide. Yesterday, when they approved expanding the industry, the margin was much slimmer — possibly because of the brutal, months-long advertising war waged to garner their votes this year. Each side spent more than $40 million, and each was funded by a rival casino company.

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley supported the measure, as did his deputy, Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown.

"We need those dollars that are going to be spent anyway for gaming, we need them spent in Maryland so we can fund our schools, our law enforcement, our firefighters, but mostly for education," Brown said Tuesday night. 

The schools argument was a prominent one made by casino proponents during the campaign. Maryland gambling revenue going to education will total an estimated $200 million per year by the end of the decade. But opponents say lawmakers are likely to raid those education dollars to spend elsewhere.

The news of the passage prompted celebration in Prince George's County Tuesday night, with fireworks over the Potomac River as supporters celebrated the passage of the gaming measure.

"Prince George's County, you made us proud tonight," said county executive Rushern Baker. Baker told the crowd that the new Vegas-style casino, which will most likely be built at National Harbor, will create jobs, jobs, and more jobs.

"This is not just about table games and slot machines. This is about high-end shopping, high end restaurants, and high end entertainment," Baker says. "That means millions of people who visit the Washington region will now come to Prince George's and spend money. What could be better."

The new casino will mean an additional $16 million in revenue for the county beginning in 2017, according to state legislative analysts.

The measure also authorizes table games like poker and roulette at casinos around Maryland, a move aimed at beating back competition from casinos in neighboring states.

NPR

MTV's Rewinding The '90s With A New Channel

The '90s are back! Pokémon has taken over the world again. A Clinton is running for president. And now, MTV is reviving '90s favorites like Beavis and Butt-head on a new channel, MTV Classic.
NPR

Cookie Dough Blues: How E. Coli Is Sneaking Into Our Forbidden Snack

Most people know not to eat raw cookie dough. But now it's serious: 46 people have now been sickened with E. coli-tainted flour. Here's how contamination might be occurring.
WAMU 88.5

The Politics Hour – LIVE from Slim's Diner!

This special edition of the Politics Hour is coming to you live from Slim's Diner from Petworth in Northwest D.C.

NPR

Writing Data Onto Single Atoms, Scientists Store The Longest Text Yet

With atomic memory technology, little patterns of atoms can be arranged to represent English characters, fitting the content of more than a billion books onto the surface of a stamp.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.