March was massive for Maryland’s burgeoning casino business, which shattered the statewide record with nearly $78 million in gross gambling revenue, according to data released Monday by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency.
The previous statewide record was $71 million, last August.
The calendar was a contributing factor: There were five weekends in March (which began on a Saturday), giving the state’s four casinos more high-volume days than usual. Seasonal trends also tilted in their favor, according to Maryland casino officials: as winter ends, they traditionally see an uptick in business.
Leading the way during the month of explosive growth was Maryland Live, which generated $61.7 million from slots and tables — obliterating the property’s previous record of $55 million, set in May. The airplane-terminal-sized casino hauled in $38.1 million from its 4,322 slot machines in March along with $23.6 million from table games — including $2.5 million from the 52-table poker room.
It was Maryland Live’s 11th consecutive month with pretax revenues of $50 million or more — a streak that began last May, the first full month of operations for the table-games division. Total slot revenue at the Arundel Mills casino actually fell by about 14 percent compared to March 2013; but the 177 tables made up for the difference and then some.
Excluding Rocky Gap Casino, the picturesque Western Maryland resort that opened last May, year-over-year casino revenue in the state was up 27 percent, or $15.8 million, over last March, mostly because of Maryland Live, which typically accounts for three-quarters or more of the state’s gambling revenue.
Compared to last March, revenue at Hollywood Casino Perryville fell by about 16 percent, or $1.5 million, $7.9 million. The Casino at Ocean Downs saw a slight increase in year-over-year March revenue, to $4.1 million. Rocky Gap generated just under $4 million in pretax gambling revenue.
Of the record statewide haul — which was exactly $77,850,831, according to regulators — just over half was collected in taxes, including more than $30 million for the Education Trust Fund. The casinos have sent more than $241 million to the education fund during the current fiscal year.
Maryland’s gambling-revenue landscape will expand and shift in August or September, when the Horseshoe Casino opens in downtown Baltimore — and again in 2016, when MGM National Harbor opens in Prince George’s County.