raftKings and FanDuel have spent more than $2 million trying to persuade Maryland voters to approve sports betting as they vote on the November 3 ballot question, according to the latest campaign finance reports.
The two online sportsbooks have about $486,000 left of the $2.75 million they’ve put into a group called “Vote Yes on Question 2,” according to a report filed Friday, as first reported by the Baltimore Sun. Most of that money has gone into TV, radio and online advertising and direct mail campaigns. They’ve also printed yard signs and brochures and conducted polling.
The group’s account was opened in July with $250,000 from DraftKings, and the campaign went public in September. In August and September, DraftKings contributed another $1 million and FanDuel contributed $1.5 million. The group is chaired by Marissa Coleman, a former University of Maryland and WNBA star.
Meanwhile, the state’s casinos and the Maryland Jockey Club have been offering free on-site advertising, social media and mailings for a group in favor of sports betting that they’re calling “Fund Our Future.” The Maryland Jockey Club, the Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, Hollywood Casino Perryville and Maryland Live! Casino and Hotel contributed a combined $32,300 to Fund Our Future. But very little of that cash has been spent, according to their report filed Friday. Instead, those businesses and other casinos have been making “in-kind” contributions, meaning they are offering work on behalf of the group at no cost.
In-kind contributions also came from Maryland Live! Casino and Hotel, Hollywood Casino Perryville, Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, Ocean Downs Casino and Rocky Gap Casino and Resort. All told, the in-kind contributes were valued at more than $33,000.
As surrounding states have legalized betting on sports, Maryland has not expanded its legal gambling industry. Lawmakers ultimately decided to put a broad question to voters this fall, asking only if voters agree with legalizing sports betting. If voters approve, then lawmakers would have to hash out the particulars of who would be eligible for licenses to run sports betting operations.