Gambling companies spend $2m in Maryland to persuade voters to approve sports betting

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As Maryland voters will decide this fall whether or not to approve sports betting in the state, gambling companies are spending big bucks to try and persuade residents to select yes on the ballot. FanDuel and DraftKings are two companies that would offer services in the state if the option is approved this fall. Both have supported a group called Vote Yes on Question 2 and have spent over $2 million to positively promote sports betting.

Finance reports were filed on Friday, showing that of the $2.75 million put into the Vote Yes on Question 2 group’s account, around $486,000 remains unused. The majority of the funds were spent on advertisements. Direct mail campaigns were created along with online, radio, and TV ads.

Supporting the Effort

The banking account for the group was created back in July. At that time, DraftKings provided $250,000 in support. The campaign then went public last month. In August and September, DraftKings decided to add another $1 million to the account. FanDuel contributed as well, adding $1.5 million in funds.

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Casinos in the state as well as the Maryland Jockey Club have also provided support for the cause, but they have put their efforts behind a group called Fund Our Future. The casinos and the club have provided free advertising on-site as well as via mailings and social media. A total of $32,300 was provided to Fund Our Future from the Maryland Jockey Club, the Hollywood Casino Perryville, Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, and the Maryland Live! Casino.

Of that amount, very little has been spent. Instead of using the funds, the casinos and other businesses have made what is known as ‘in-kind’ contributions. They are offering work on behalf of the group at no cost to them.

An example of this can be found via the Maryland Jockey Club. The Club donated graphic design as well as in-house advertising and signs at the track to the cause. They also provided website ads and social media posts at no cost. The casinos also provided similar contributions that have all been valued at over $33,000 together.

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Maryland is currently surrounded by states that have legalized sports betting. Lawmakers in the state have decided to allow a broad question about the activity on the ballot this fall, asking if they agree with legalizing the option. If voters say yes, then lawmakers will need to determine the details, such as who would be eligible for licensing to offer services.

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