For Penn National Gaming, a perfect world, or at least something a lot more ideal to the one they’re living in, involves the scratching of Maryland’s gambling expansion bill. That would mean that the casino operator wouldn’t have dug deep into their pockets to fight the bill, thus saving themselves hours of work and millions of dollars in the process.
But this isn’t a perfect world yet Penn National Gaming Chairman Peter Carlino is perfectly fine with it.
During a conference call with business analysts, Carlino reiterated his stance of opposing Maryland’s Question 7, which would effectively allow a Las Vegas-style casino to be built in suburban Prince George’s County and allow the state’s existing slot machine-only casinos to add table games, as well as lower the state’s industry-high 67 percent gaming tax. As the strongest voice of the opposition that’s looking to defeat the bill, Carlino said they, meaning the company, have no regrets on the time and resources they’ve spent to drum up support in opposition of the bill, even going so far as to say that the company will push on with its campaign.
“We intend to continue to aggressively inform Maryland voters on what we believe to be a flawed process that handicaps competition for a potential sixth casino license in Prince George’s County for National Harbor,” Carlino said.
Penn National Gaming has spent an extraordinary sum on lobbying efforts in the state to oppose the bill. As of last week, Penn has dropped around $25.1 million on funding the advertising and marketing efforts behind the opposition of Question 7. Yet for all the money that they’ve shelled out, Carlino sees it as necessary expenses considering its staunch belief in opposing the bill.
The company has long made it known that they don’t want to see Question 7 pass, even if it means the proposed additional table games would arrive much later. Carlino argues that table games would eventually come even if Question 7 fails on Nov. 6. “I don’t think the issue is dead by any means,” Carlino said. “There will be table games in Maryland.”
In that light, the man is calling on Maryland lawmakers to rewrite “a more balanced and reasonable” gaming expansion bill. Penn National Gaming has shown that they’re willing to spend for it, and it certainly looks like they’re not done dropping more money into their campaign.