MGM, Penn National Gaming heat up Maryland casino issue
If they could get into a ring and just slug it out to determine a winner, we’d pay to see it.
MGM Resorts International and Penn National Gaming have become engaged in a game of one-upmanship after the former put up another $3 million in donations in support of Maryland’s expanded gambling ballot, totaling their donations to $5.4 million. The amount is almost equal to the $5.5 million Penn National Gaming has donated in an effort to stop the ballot from being passed.
The ballot in question, called “Question 7″, has become a hot issue in the state, particularly its content to expand gambling in the state. Penn National is against the passing of the ballot and has even resorted to producing an advert urging voters to vote against expansion.
Penn National has been vocal about its belief that state officials have not been completely on the up-and-up as far as their negotiations with casino operators are concerned. “It’s pretty clear to us that the fix is in, in Maryland which is shocking,” Penn National CEO Peter Carlino told Reuters last month.
MGM has been aggressive in its attempt to secure the sixth gaming license in the state and has gone to great lengths to ensure that they have a solid case to build a casino in the area, which, apparently, now includes a sizable donation to get its point across.
Suffice to say, the rapid action and responses MGM and Penn National have done in the month since Maryland governor Martin O’Malley signed the measure is hardly surprising. Both sides want that golden ticket and aren’t backing down from each other.
And with the ballot scheduled to be voted on this coming November, we won’t be surprised if this continuing game of “we-can-do-you-one-better” drags on for another couple of months. At the rate their going though, maybe settling the issue sandlot-style wouldn’t be such a bad idea.
At the very least, it’ll make for great entertainment.