Maryland Gaming Expansion Question, Question 7 (2012)

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Gaming Expansion Question
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Type:Legislatively-referred state statute
Referred by:Maryland State Legislature
Topic:Gambling
Status:Approveda
Question 7, also known as the Gaming Expansion Question, was on the November 6, 2012 general election ballot in the state of Maryland as a legislatively-referred state statute, where it was approved. The measure allowed one additional casino to be constructed in Prince George's County and would expand the type of games allowed at existing casinos.[1]

Aftermath

On Tuesday, January 23, 2013, Judge Ronald A. Silkworth, of the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court, rejected a lawsuit seeking to nullify the results of Question 7. One argument brought before the court came from former Prince George’s County Council member Tom Dernoga, who said that the measure's ballot language indicated that the measure should have only been valid if approved by a majority all registered voters, as opposed to just the ones who turned out on Election Day. Judge Silkworth called the attempt baseless and said that the intent of the language was clear.[2]

Election results

See also: 2012 ballot measure election results
Maryland Question 7
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 1,373,886 51.9%
No1,272,35548.1%
Official results from the Maryland Secretary of State.

Text of measure

The ballot measure read as follows:[3]

Question 7

Gaming Expansion Referendum
Gaming Expansion (Ch. 1 of the Second 2012 Special Session)


Do you favor the expansion of commercial gaming in the State of Maryland for the primary purpose of raising revenue for education to authorize video lottery operation licensees to operate “table games” as defined by law; to increase from 15,000 to 16,500 the maximum number of video lottery terminals that may be operated in the State; and to increase from 5 to 6 the maximum number of video lottery operation licenses that may be awarded in the State and allow a video lottery facility to operate in Prince George’s County?

For the Additional Forms and Expansion of Commercial Gaming

Against the Additional Forms and Expansion of Commercial Gaming

Support

  • The campaign to pass the measure was led by Vote for 7.
  • The Washington Redskins voiced their support for the measure. Dennis Greene, president of business operations for the team, said, "As members of the Prince George’s County business community, we see it as our obligation to speak out in support of major economic development initiatives."[4]

Arguments

  • According to Vote for 7, Maryland was losing $550 Million to casinos in neighboring states at the time. They argued that new casinos would help keep that money in the state, as well as, bring in money from other states in the region. They also pointed out that the money form casino revenues would help fund Maryland schools.[5]
  • The Washington Post argued that since gambling has already been approved in the state, and five casinos built, it was "common sense" to approve the new expansion. They said that the expansion was necessary to keep Maryland competitive with neighboring states. The paper also pointed out that state estimates say the expansion would add roughly $199  million in tax revenues annually to the state's budget.[6]

Opposition

The campaign opposing the measure was led by Get The Facts – Vote No On 7.

Arguments

  • Arguments against the measure from the Vote No on 7 website said that any money generated by the casino for the Education Trust Fund can simply be raided by politicians to balance the budget. They also argued that the measure was unfair because it proposed to give tax cuts to casinos while taxes on the public were raised.[7]

Media editorial positions

See also: Endorsements of Maryland ballot measures, 2012

Support

  • The Washington Post said, "Gambling is big business. Over the past decade, it has expanded to 22 states from 15, excluding facilities operated by Native Americans on reservations. There are now nearly 500 casinos around the country. Some 56 million Americans, about a sixth of the nation’s population, have spent money at an MGM property, including casinos, hotels, stores and restaurants. So given the budgetary benefits, why should Maryland opt out? By expanding gambling, the state would simply keep pace with a broad national trend while providing adequate and efficient regulation. A 'for' vote on Question 7 does just that."[8]

Polls

See also: Polls, 2012 ballot measures
  • A September 25-27, 2012, poll of 804 registered voters, conducted by the Baltimore Sun, found that 38% of Maryland voters are in favor of the gaming expansion; while 53% of Maryland voters are opposed it, and another 9% undecided. The poll has a margin of error of +/-3.5%.[9]


Date of Poll Pollster In favor Opposed Undecided Number polled
Sept. 25-27, 2012 Baltimore Sun 38% 53% 9% 804
Legend

     Position is ahead and at or over 50%     Position is ahead or tied, but under 50%

Path to the ballot

  • The measure was passed by the legislature on August 13, 2012. The senate approved it 32-14 and the house sent it to the governor with a 71-59 vote.[10]
  • It was officially placed on the ballot when it was signed by the governor two days later, on August 15.[10]

See also

Additional reading

References