Taxpayers' group discloses $755,000 in casino fight spending

A Virginia-based group that waged a high-profile advertising campaign against a plan to expand gambling in Maryland has revised its disclosure statement to show it spent more than $755,000  to influence the General Assembly during its special session last month.

The Taxpayers Protection Alliance reported Wednesday that it spent $754,675 on its media campaign in addition to the $1,000 it had reported Monday -- the deadine for filing disclosures regarding the special session to the State Ethics Commission.

The amended statement by the Alexandria-based group brings the total spending on efforts to sway lawmakers' votes on the question of increased gambling to about $5.75 million.

The newly reported money on the opposition side of the issue brings the totals for the contending sides closer to parity. Supporters of a new Prince George's County casino -- the most controversial aspect of gambling expansion -- reported spending about $2.7 million.

With the addition of the taxpayers' alliance money, the spending for media campaigns on the opposition side comes to roughly $2.4 million. Roughly $650,000 was spent on lobbyists for the two sides in the contest.

In the end, supporters prevailed in the special session as the legislature voted to put a question on the ballot allowing the Prince George's casino and the expansion of Maryland's current slots-only gambling program to table games.


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