Judging by the revenue that flooded Maryland Live! in its first month in operation, a lot of Marylanders in the Washington, DC, area spent the record heat wave over the weekend in an air-conditioned casino.
The casino at Arundel Mills in Hanover has generated more than $28 million in revenue since its opening, with each slot machine collecting more than $359 a day in June.
The casino generated about 70 percent of all the slots-related revenue in Maryland and pumped $13 million into state’s education trust fund, according to figures from the Maryland Lottery.
Maryland Live! and has 3,171 game terminals in operation. It will add 1,575 more by the end of the fall. It is one of three active casinos in the state.
“I think it went well. I think the numbers are impressive, but we’re not surprised by them,” said Maryland Lottery Director Stephen Martino in an interview with Patch. “Given the fact that Maryland Live! is the largest casino and that there’s still more machines that are coming online, there are things that we look at that weigh how things ended up. But these are strong numbers.”
Officials in the state of Maryland have considered expanding gambling to include facilities in Prince George’s County. Proposals have called for the approval of live table games as well.
A task force last month failed to reach a consensus on the issue, but Gov. Martin O’Malley has not ruled out a special session later this year.
Officials for Maryland Live! have opposed efforts to expand gambling to new sites, arguing that it would hurt their chances of getting established.
Joe Weinberg, a managing partner with The Cordish Cos., developer of the casino, noted that visitors to Maryland Live! have come from areas in the Washington, DC, metro area and hinted that a facility in Prince George’s County would cut into its customer base.
“Critically, they came from a very wide geographic area, with roughly half of our visitors coming from the District of Columbia, the Maryland counties surrounding DC, and Virginia," Weinberg said. "It is clear that if we are going to continue to meet the state’s expectations, we have to be able to continue to draw visitors from these areas.”
Overall, Maryland’s three casinos generated $40,835,001.25 in June. That includes revenue from Maryland Live! as well as smaller facilities in Perryville and Ocean Downs. The Hollywood Casino in Perryville generated $7.9 million, while the Casino at Ocean Downs generated $4.4 million.
Maryland Live!'s management was pleased with the first month's revenue.
“The results are right in line with projections,” said Weinberg in a statement. “Approximately 500,000 people visited the casino during its first 24 days of operation.”
Maryland Live! officials said the casino distributed $169 million to customers through the month.
Martino said that Maryland Lottery has shied away from making predictions on future revenue. Projecting the path for Maryland Live! is especially tricky since there will be more slots and amenities added later this year.
“It’s obviously much too early, and we have the initial excitement of the facility we’re working through,” he said. “It’s going to take a while to see what the pattern is at Maryland Live! And by a while, I mean 18 to 24 months.”
Under agreements with the state, all casinos distribute 48 percent of all revenue to the Maryland Education Trust Fund. For June, that figure was about $19.8 million overall and $13.8 million from Maryland Live!
Maryland Live! took 33 percent of its revenue—or about $9.3 million—as its own share, with about $5 million left for local impact grants, the horse racing industry, the Maryland Lottery and minority businesses.
With Maryland Live! removed, revenue from the other casinos in the state declined by about 2 percent.
Martino said the lottery had no stance on expanding gambling in Maryland.
“Our position is that we’re going to implement the policy passed by the legislature,” he said.