This post probably will not appear until after the conclusion of a special session of the Maryland General Assembly called to deal with proposals about casinos.
The worst-case scenario, which at this writing seems likely to occur, is that the legislature will put on the November ballot for the voters to decide, a proposed amendment to the Maryland state constitution to allow a new casino to be built at National Harbor, wherever that is.
This will be the second constitutional amendment dealing with casinos in recent years, and I hope voters will consider what a momentous change that is.
Strange contestants have emerged in the pro-and-con battle of TV advertising on this issue. People like me, who oppose any expansion of legalized gambling whatsoever, aren’t taking part in the conversation. As I will note again later on, it’s not clear to me that it’s a moral question. Rather, I still need to track down and link from here to the national study done some years ago that found that, far from being the economic boon proponents always claim, a casino almost always (emphasize “almost“) degrades the quality of life in a community.[*]
Instead, the “pro” forces in this debate are, or purport to be, trade unions that believe the building of the casino will create jobs. (Then why this, rather than any other project?) Each side is accusing the other of malice, which isn’t helpful. (See Free Speech Handbook, Guideline 9.) The “pro” forces’ latest round of advertisements blames opposition on “special interests,” a phrase guaranteed to raise ire. But these “special interests” prove to be none other than those who have invested directly or indirectly in the two established casinos, Hollywood Casino Perryville and Maryland Live! at Arundel Mills; who apprehend that the new casino at National Harbor would cut into their profits.
It strikes me as ironic that the “pro” forces’ latest ads conclude with images of a happy family. The casinos’ own, direct, advertisements point in the opposite direction. Strengthening families is the last thing casinos are about.
[*] Here it is: National Gambling Impact Study