The day after – casino gaming and the election


Well, at last the election is over, regardless of whether your candidate won or lost, or whether your ballot issue passed or failed you, too, must be as glad as I am to have to constant barrage of campaign advertising, name calling and speech making over.  As necessary as the process is to our democratic system there are times when it radically disrupts the business of living.  I am more than ready to get back to real life and forget that surreal existence of the last month or so of the campaign; however inane and meaningless the daily talking head and reporting world becomes it will be a welcome relief from the inflated and polarized politic debate that has dominate our lives lately.

Presidents, senators and governors aside, gaming was on the ballot on the sixth of November, too.  Gaming was on the ballot in four states, Florida, Maryland, Oregon and Rhode Island.  Unlike other years and other elections, there is no clear national trend or dominate national sentiment.  Gaming succeeded in some states and failed in others. The most hotly contended gaming ballot question was in Maryland – by election day $90 million had been spent on the campaign; the money was spent evenly for and against, but the pro-gaming side won 52 to 48 percent.  The question dealt with adding table games to existing casinos, reducing the tax rate and adding another casino in Prince George – effectually that means Washington D. C.  The casinos are promising games as soon as the regulations are written, which they hope will be early in 2013.

Rhode Island had a split result, expansion of the games offer was approved for one the Twin River’s casino, but turned down for the Newport Grand.  So far, there has been no further news about when the new games will hit the casino floor, but one suspects Twin River is in as big a hurry as the casinos in Maryland to get started. Both states are trying to strengthen their market position ahead of the casinos to open in Massachusetts sometime in the next 2, 3 or 4 years.

Florida voters approved slot machines in two counties, but the vote was advisory and the state legislature will have to approve placing slot machines at race tracks in Palm Beach and Bonita Springs. The voters in those areas strongly supported the measure to add the slot machines, but at the state level the issue has much less support, and significantly, very strong opposition and well-financed opposition.

Oregon asked its voters if they wanted to approve a non-Indian casino in a small hamlet close to Portland and they did not.  A company from Canada worked to get the measure on the ballot, but it generated serious opposition from neighboring Indian tribes with casinos.  The sponsors gave up a month ago and went back to Canada – the tribes however, kept up their campaign against the question right up to the day of the election.  It cost them a couple of million dollars to protect their market – probably a good investment on their part.

Those were the major straightforward votes on gaming, but two other states had indirect votes on the subject, Kentucky and New Hampshire.  Here again the results were mixed, Kentucky elected a significant number of anti-gaming legislators – enough for The Family Foundation to declare the election a victory for the anti-gaming forces.  New Hampshire elected a governor who supports gaming and pro-gaming forces are already thinking it means the have a chance to expand gaming in the state.

So, there you have it, a quick and dirty day-after the election recap of casino gaming and the American voters – or at least the voters who had an opportunity to express their sentiments on the subject.  Here! Here! All hail democracy. And now, it is back to work we go.

 After the most expensive political campaign in Maryland’s history, proponents of a plan to expand the reach and variety of casino gambling in Maryland won a narrow victory.  The measure would allow Maryland casinos to offer table games such as blackjack and roulette, and allow a casino to be built in Prince George’s County. Michael Dresser, Baltimore Sun, 11-7-12

 Casino gambling in Rhode Island won a split decision Tuesday night as local voters approved casino games at Lincoln’s Twin River, but Newport voters rejected them for Newport Grand. Allowing table games such as blackjack and roulette at the two video slot venues won statewide approval by better than 2-to-1 ratio. But local voters in each municipality were given a veto for the facilities in their borders. Providence Journal, 11-7-12

 As expected, two casino-related ballot measures lost badly late Tuesday. Measure 82 would have changed the state constitution to allow private casinos in Oregon…the campaign lost steam mid-way, and the investors suspended their efforts. Opponents…spent more than $2 million on ads. Oregonian, 11-7-12

  Palm Beach County voters want slot machines, and they renewed a tax-incentive program for businesses in two countywide ballot questions Tuesday. Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, 11-7-12

 Legislative obstacles remain with bringing slot machines to a Bonita Springs dog track even though Lee County voters passed a slots referendum Tuesday.  Fort Meyers News-Press, 11-7-12

When newly elected New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat, is inaugurated in January, it will be the first time in 12 years that the state’s chief executive supports the expansion of gambling. That could be a harbinger for the return of Thoroughbred racing to Rockingham Park.  Lynne Snierson, Blood-Horse News, 11-7-12

“The odds against expanded gambling in Kentucky just got steeper,” said Martin Cothran, a policy analyst for The Family Foundation. “It looks to us like we picked up votes in both the state Senate and state House.” Roger Alford, Associated Press, 11-7-12

 Anti-gambling forces were heartened by an election that ousted a handful of legislative incumbents who had voted for failed casino and slots bills in recent years. Roger Alford, Associated Press, 11-7-12

 

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1 Response to “The day after – casino gaming and the election”


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