It is amazing how casino operators can argue either side of the gambling debate and still maintain a straight face. When a casino wants to open in the state, it will tout the jobs and tax revenue. But when a casino doesn’t want any competition, it will argue that more gambling is a bad deal for taxpayers that it will not deliver the promised benefits.
That is what is taking place in Maryland, where voters will decide a referendum in November on whether to allow a sixth casino and table games at the existing casinos. MGM supports the measure is spending millions of dollars arguing the casino will mean more jobs. But the Penn National casino in West Virginia is spending millions to sway voters that Maryland doesn’t need more gambling. That’s because Penn National is afraid the Maryland casino will keep gamblers from traveling to West Virginia.
The bottom line is that casinos will say and do whatever it takes to get open. Then they will twist the facts again to stop any competition from encroaching on their turf. As a result, the public debate is often lacking in any independent and substantive information with which to make a decision. Likewise, lawmakers make little effort to determine the social and economic costs of gambling. As a result, the taxpayers get played just like the suckers who go to casinos.