You couldn’t say it was terribly surprising that a state commission “unanimously voted in favor of the proposed Harrah’s Baltimore project,” a casino planned by CBAC Gaming. I mean it’s not like their parent company, Caesars Entertainment didn’t donate $100,000 to the Democratic Governors’ Association, which is presided over by Gov. Martin O’Malley.
The Baltimore casino license was the last one to be assigned of the five slots locations approved by 2008 legislation. But for Maryland, the gambling debate is not over. O’Malley has called for a special session to consider adding table games (currently the licenses are just for slots parlors), as well as a sixth Maryland casino — in Prince George’s County.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has come out in full support of the casino and the legalization of table games. In a statement released yesterday, the mayor is counting on the expansion of legal gambling to not only “add hundreds of additional job opportunities” and “increase education funding” but even “help reduce property taxes.” But what if it doesn’t? Is the reduction of property taxes going to be written into the legislation? And will education really end up better funded, or will less money be allocated to education from other sources? And maybe this is too big picture, but is fleecing gambling addicts and fools (as opposed to actually “producing” something useful) a good way to increase wealth in the long term?
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