October 13, 2017
By Geoff Freeman
What does it take for The Baltimore Sun to change its tune (“Sports betting? No reason to rush,” Oct. 11)? The recent ill-informed editorial discouraging sports betting in Maryland is just another in a long line of the paper’s more-than-a-decade opposition to casino gaming and its repeated reliance on stereotypes over facts. The facts are that Marylanders are enjoying nearly $500 million in casino gaming tax revenue annually and that the industry employs 5,000 individuals. This doesn’t even include the benefits for local small businesses who employ nearly 3,000 residents across the state as a result of casinos’ economic impact.
The facts are that Marylanders are already illegally wagering tens of millions of dollars annually on sports betting. And Oxford Economics estimates that a legal and regulated sports betting market could bring as much as $516 million in economic output to Maryland’s economy, support up to 2,655 jobs and generate up to $105 million in additional tax revenue. And the facts are that the “sky will fall” scenarios presented by gaming critics have never materialized.
To the contrary, local officials rave about the partner that our casino properties have become. We can have an honest debate about the merits of sports betting and the timing for Maryland to make its move. But, particularly at a time when Americans seem to be losing faith in journalism, we should not have to continue to have a debate about basic facts.
Geoff Freeman, Washington, D.C.
The writer is president and CEO of the American Gaming Association.