Maryland voters narrowly gave their approval Tuesday to a plan that would expand casino gambling in the state, following what the Baltimore Sun
described as "the most expensive political campaign in Maryland's history."
A poll just last week had indicated growing opposition to the gambling Question 7 ballot initiative, which would allow existing casinos to offer more table games and pave the way for a new casino resort in Prince George's County.
But apparently a unrelenting series of ads endorsing the measure and touting hundreds of jobs, not to mention the millions of dollars it's expected to bring to education, help pushed it through in the closing moments of Tuesday's voting.
As the final votes were being counted, the Sun reported that supporters of the Question 7 set off fireworks over the National Harbor in Baltimore, the most likely site for the new $800 million casino resort, in celebration.
The gambling initiative, backed by Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley, was placed on the ballot after it was approved by the state General Assembly in a special session in August.
According to the Sun, two rival casino companies, MGM International and Penn National Gaming, spent $80 million between them on initiative campaign. MGM hopes to build the new casino, while Penn had worked against the proposal, seeing it as competition for its casino operations in nearby Charles Town, W. Va.
The Sun, citing the most recent publicly available figures, said the total spent by both supporters and opponents of Question 7 was more than $87 million.
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