W. Va. official hopes Question 7 goes down

Handing ammunition to proponents of gambling expansion, West Virginia Lottery Director John Musgrave has publicly expressed hope that Marylanders will vote down a proposed expansion in gambling that could mean more competition for casinos in his state.

The West Virginia lottery chief voiced his hope this week that Maryland's Question 7 will be defeated Nov. 6 in an interview with MetroNews, The Voice of West Virginia about the increased competition the Mountaineer State's casinos are facing from various states on its borders.

"We're hoping that the folks over there will vote down that issue because it will have an impact on our facility at Charles Town," he said.

The Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races is owned by Penn National Gaming, which has financed the opposition ad campaign to the tune of about $30 million.


Supporters of Question 7, largely financed by MGM Resorts International, quickly ponced on Musgrave's remarks -- calling attention to them in a news release.

"Penn National will do anything to protect its cash cow in West Virginia, even if it means stifling job growth and stealing money from Maryland classrooms," said Kristen Hawn, spokeswoman for the MGM-backed ballot committee For Maryland Jobs and Schools.


MGM, which has spent roughly the same amount as Penn National to support Question 7, hopes to benefit from a provision of the referendum question that would allow a new casino in Prince George's County. The Las Vegas operator is the prospective operator of a site at National Harbor that is believed to pose a grave threat to Charles Town's revenue from the Washington area.

The ballot proposition would also open all the state's casinos to table games such as poker and craps.