** UPDATE: Includes new Caesars contributions **
Penn National Gaming stuck another $4 million into its anti-casino expansion campaign, the latest display of a seemingly bottomless appetite for spending in Maryland by gambling interests.
The news comes as a spokesman for a Caesars-backed group planning to build a casino in Baltimore announced late last night that the company would join forces with MGM Resorts and put money into an effort to expand gambling. A spokeswoman said this afternoon that Caesars will add $1.2 million to the campaign.
Also, yesterday, National Harbor developer Milt Peterson said he would add $400,000 to the pro-expansion cause. MGM said it will open a "visitors center" at National Harbor, where it hopes to build a new casino.
The voracious spending is on pace to set a record amount of money into a Maryland state-wide campaign. Voters in November will decide if the state should have a sixth casino - to be located in Prince George's County - and table games like poker at all. Ratification by voters would also mean tax cuts for some casino owners.
A question in the debate is what David Cordish, the owner of the state's largest casino, will do. He fought hard against casino expansion in the General Assembly, but has been silent on his intentions this fall. He is holding a news conference later today to show off the completion of a new phase of his casino.
Cheat sheet for which company is one which side of gambling debate (so far):
Funding pro-casino expansion campaign
MGM Resorts: $5.4 million
Peterson Companies: $400,000
Caesars: $1.3 million Said they will spent money, but have not yet reported any donations
Funding anti-casino expansion campaign
Penn National Gaming: $9.5 million
Total spending: $16.5 million $15.3 millionCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun