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New report details Md. slots campaign money


With the state straining to get its slots program aloft, a new report provides a timely reminder of how much money gaming interests spent trying to influence gambling-related ballot measures last year in Maryland and eight other states.

The report, by the National Institute on Money in State Politics, includes a section on Maryland, where pro-gambling forces outspent anti-gambling groups about 7 to 1. The ballot measure, approved by close to 59 percent of voters, authorized slot machine casinos at five locations around the state.

Of the nearly $8.2 million raised for the campaign, about $7.1 million was contributed by gambling companies, horse-racing interests and other pro-gaming interests. That 7-to-1 ratio fell in the middle of the spectrum among the five states that passed measures expanding gambling. Gambling proponents outraised opponents 2-to-1 in California and 1,734-to-1 in Colorado, the study said.

Ironically, the largest contributor in Maryland, as noted in the report, was Laurel Racing Association, which gave $3 million. The company's bid to put slots at Laurel Park racetrack in Anne Arundel County was disqualified in February because it was not accompanied by a hefty upfront licensing fee.

The full report is available here.

By John Wagner  |  October 28, 2009; 4:46 PM ET
Categories:  John Wagner , Slots  
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Stop the insanity:

Posted by: Rob_A | October 28, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

I think it's more telling that 42% voted NO despite the spending spree on the part of the slot-heads. How might this have turned out had there been a level playing field?

Posted by: WoodrowRoosevelt | October 31, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

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