Cumberland Times-News

October 22, 2012

Where did ‘Battle of Casinos’ money come from?

To the Editor:
Cumberland Times-News

— Before enjoying the rest of this edition, I invite your readers to consider the total: more than $50 million (Maryland Board of Elections as of Oct. 19) spent to date in this “Battle of Casinos” noted in Associated Press accounts.

Then call your state legislator and ask him this question: “Since both sides of this battle gain their revenues from citizens of states while operating under privileges granted by representatives of sate taxpayers, please demand that both sides purchase newspaper ads listing amounts received for and payments made in this battle.”

We need these details before we start early voting.

This amazing spending should be investigated. Were these millions reported as taxable income? In what state report were they included? Who did the audits?

“Gaming” corporations are using cash earned (won), borrowed, or from owners (investors). These war chests dumped into this fight smell of deception.

Were these millions earned because state laws created to benefit education and various budget needs? Were the split numbers really so low when they were haggling for more?

Are not bettors’ dollars their main source of cash for this bitter dispute? If not, where these $50 millions come from?

Are state and federal taxes paid on these massive war chests? If so, why not look at higher fees or direct taxes on excess profits of these outfits?

Higher fees up front dedicated to specific areas: education, highways, Bay cleanup! Such would not hurt the bottom line based on this money war.

It is all too evident that legislators were convinced that higher splits for the state would keep them out of Maryland. Really? All the whining and haggling over the percentage of the take now begins to look phony.

In small countries, some the size of the Maryland, citizens are not allowed to play in local casinos; but are allowed to work inside. These places have figured it out to make sure gambling really helps their bottom line.

Not so different from Prince Georges County next to Washington. Might work for PG County economy with all the corporate lobbyists just across the river!

If it does not improve the overall living standard for that county they will expect the rest of Maryland to help them out.

if Annapolis fails to solve PG budget problems maybe Congress will. Or maybe not!

Will we ever know who got the millions spent in this fracas? Schools? Highway Trust Fund? U.S. Post Office bailout? A little for those ugly postcards!

As they say in New Orleans: “Let the Good Times Roll!”

Thomas F. Conlon