Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Maryland's deceptive casino advertising

Maryland’s deceptive casino advertising


Question 7 will be on the ballot this November. If approved a sixth casino will be built in Prince George’s County Maryland, table games will be permitted in existing casinos and the number of total slot machines in the state will rise from 15,000 to 16,500. A fierce media battle has ensued between its ardent supporters and enthusiastic opponents. Pro-forces believe that passage of this question would increase tax revenues, bring new jobs to Maryland, provide more funds for the education system and make gaming venues in the state more competitive with the surrounding states. Opposition forces believe that another casino will saturate the casino market reducing profits at existing sites, provide no guarantees that increased revenues will be targeted for education purposes and further enhance the possibility of gambling addiction in the state. Another question brought to the surface in the last few weeks, who will be the benefactors of the new jobs created. Will these be only union shops or will non-union workers be accepted into the mix? Radio and visual media have been saturated with commercials, with the majority of ads on the pro side of the issue. Wherever your thoughts drift to on this issue, the pro commercials are less than truthful. Charles Town Hollywood Casino in West Virginia already has table games so new jobs are not flying out of the state to this location. In a similar fashion, Delaware’s three casinos instituted table games several years ago, therefore no net jobs are finding their way to our small neighbor to the north. During the week Delaware Park’s table games go begging for usage many nights. The argument that Maryland is losing jobs to other venues for lack of table games is erroneous. Question seven does not guarantee that any additional revenues will be directed towards education or to someone’s wind farm project, yet the pro commercials tout this prospect as real. Maryland’s Hollywood Casino has loss significant revenue since Maryland Live has opened. A sixth casino could rip a financial hole in Maryland Live’s revenues. The latter casino has already seen a fall-off in patronage during the week. Maryland can only tighten their slot payouts so much before people go to other venues. Many have already discovered their buck goes much further in neighboring states. Poor planning, greed and mischaracterization of the benefits gambling would bring to the state have put the gaming industry in Maryland into a turmoil. Instead of worrying about expanding, the Governor and his minions should consider strengthening the venues already built because failure of these facilities appears to be a real possibility. Mark Davis MD, author of Demons of Democracy and the forthcoming book, Obamacare: Dead on Arrival.

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