Penn National Gaming is adding more fuel to the fire regarding the expanded gambling referendum in Maryland with a new 30-second television spot that challenges claims made by proponents of passing the referendum. The ad, which has been dubbed as “Empty Lot”, was pretty straight forward and direct to the point, claiming that a previous advertisement endorsing the bill is “filled with more empty promises from Baltimore developers”.
They promised to build a new casino in Baltimore, but construction hasn’t even begun,” the ad continues. “Now, they want a tax bailout from Maryland taxpayers. Even though the legislature just raised taxes on working families.”
It’s no secret that Penn National Gaming has been the strongest opponent of Question 7 and has taken great lengths in promoting their cause, having spent $18 million in their attempts to defeat the referendum. Their latest campaign aims to tell voters that if that planned Baltimore casino has yet to fulfill its promise of creating more jobs to the people, then why should people believe that this new referendum, which promises the same, will hold up on its end of the deal.
To further prove it’s commitment to fight the referendum, Penn National Gaming has even spent another $3.5 million in its campaign, bringing its total to an astounding $21.6 million. Meanwhile, MGM Resorts, the company leading the efforts in getting the referendum passed has spent a total of $17.4 million on its campaign.
The battle lines have been drawn and while Penn National Gaming is the only company funding the opposition, MGM Resorts has a number of other companies on its side, including Peterson Cos. ($1.3 million), Caesars Entertainment ($3.4 million), and Bozzuto & Associates ($10,000). Even the Washington Redskins have thrown their support behind the passing of the referendum.
All told, the companies that have a stake in the outcome of the referendum have spent more than $43 million. It’s quite evident that the two loudest voices in this fight – Penn National Gaming and MGM Resorts – are taking this battle to another level. The only thing we’ll be surprised about at this point is if we don’t see any more funds being thrown in from both sides.