Former Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell, who pushed hard for the adoption of casino gaming in 2004, says there are “many, many upsides” to gambling that have benefited Pennsylvania.

Gov. Rendell, who recently addressed the Greater Baltimore Committee, said Maryland could reap similar benefits from casino gaming. His visit came less than a week after voters approved a sweeping expansion of the Maryland's gaming program.

Gov. Rendell, special counsel at Ballard Spahr in Philadelphia and an MSNBC political commentator, said Pennsylvania collects more than $1.3 billion a year from casinos, which it uses to reduce property taxes for state residents. He said casinos have also boosted employment and economic development, employing about 8,000 people directly and spawning nearby commercial projects. Casino revenues also have helped local governments weather the recession.

“Without the gaming money, they might not have been able to balance their budgets,” Gov. Rendell said.