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Maryland Politics
Posted at 04:00 PM ET, 08/06/2012

Maryland Live! rakes in $35 million in July, but revenue drops at Perryville casino


The new Maryland Live! casino at Arundel Mills mall.(Photo by Mark Gail/The Washington Post)
Maryland’s largest casino continued to perform strongly during its second month of operation, generating $35.4 million — but gross revenue tumbled last month at its closest competitor.

The take at Maryland Live! in Anne Arundel County kept pace with its opening-month numbers, which were aided by a burst of publicity surrounding the casino’s June 6 launch.

Hollywood Casino Perryville, a smaller venue located a little more than an hour away in Cecil County, generated $6.9 million last month, a decrease of nearly one-third from July 2011.

The numbers, reported Monday by the Maryland Lottery Agency, are likely to factor into debate over whether the state should authorize a new casino in Prince George’s County, as well as Las Vegas-style table games at existing slots venues.

Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) has summoned lawmakers back to Annapolis on Thursday to consider the issue.

The Cordish Cos., the owner of Maryland Live!, has argued that a venue in Prince George’s, most likely at National Harbor, would “oversaturate” the Maryland gaming market, which its says cannot support another casino. The company also contends the new facility would unfairly cut into is customer base in the Washington region.

Boosters of a Prince George’s site have argued that Maryland Live!, located in Anne Arundel County, caters primary to the Baltimore market. They also argue that table games would help compensate other casino owners for the additional competition in Prince George’s.

Maryland’s third gambling venue now in operation, the Casino at Ocean Downs, generated $5.8 million last month, up 7.6 percent from July 2011. That facility, located on the Eastern Shore near Ocean City, is not as directly impacted by Maryland Live!.

Maryland Live! currently operates about 3,700 slot machines, a figure that is expected to grow to 4,750 later this year. The Perryville site has 1,500 machines, while Ocean Downs has 800.

Two more casinos are currently authorized in Maryland, in downtown Baltimore and in Western Maryland.

Update, 4 p.m.:

Bill Hayles, general manager of Hollywood Casino Perryville, said in a phone interview that the facility plans to shed 400 to 500 of its 1,500 slot machines because there is no expectation its business will recover to levels before Maryland Live! opened in June.

Another large casino planned for Baltimore will also hurt business when it opens in a few years, Hayles said.

“This is basically right-sizing for us,” Hayles said. “We have more supply than demand at this point.”

Lottery officials will have to approve the request to drop machines before it can take place.

By  |  04:00 PM ET, 08/06/2012

 
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