Smoke free in Maryland

After MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren promised—four days before the election—to build a new casino in Maryland if Maryland voters approved expanded legal gambling, and after his company spent $90 million on a campaign to win that approval, he got his way.

Maryland Ballot Question Seven was approved by 52-48 percent statewide and 59-41 percent in Prince Georges County, where the structure will be built. Both state and local voter approvals were needed.

The corporation promised the casino will not look like a casino, that it will fit into the environment and won’t be a big box. “There would be zero neon, and no marquee sign. … not something that is garish or flamboyant,” Murren said.

The Nevada office of Smoke Free Gaming of America quickly issued a statement pointing out that MGM apparently believes it can thrive in Maryland even though smoking is banned from gambling establishments there.

“This MGM Resorts property will be smoke free!” said a statement from the group. “All gaming in Maryland and any expansion of gaming must be smoke free.”

The group has long argued that the gambling industry’s claims that smoking bans hurt their businesses are inflated.