Maryland’s casinos raked in $833 million in the past fiscal year

Maryland Live Casino led the pack with $654 million in gross revenue


Hundreds of dollars are bet on one hand at Maryland Live Casino during the taping of “Poker Night in America” on March 24 in Hanover, Md. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

Maryland Live Casino, the state’s gambling behemoth, raked in more than $654 million in gross gambling revenue for the fiscal year that ended in June, helping put gambling on track to become a $1 billion industry in the next year, according to data released this week by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency.

The state’s four casinos, capitalizing on recently legalized table games, combined to generate more than $833 million in gross gambling revenue, a figure that is expected to soar with the Aug. 26 opening of Baltimore’s Horseshoe Casino. The new casino is expected to haul in at least $425 million, according to fiscal studies of the project.

In the meantime, Maryland Live Casino, which made $56.5 million in June, marked its 14th consecutive month with pretax gambling revenues of $50 million or more — a streak that began in May 2013, the first full month of operations for blackjack, poker, craps and other table games.

The Arundel Mills casino continues to dominate its three rivals in the state: Hollywood Casino in Perryville, whose $7 million in June revenue represents a nearly 10 percent drop from its performance last year in the same month; Casino at Ocean Downs, which brought in $4.8 million, about the same as last year’s figures for the month; and the Rocky Gap Casino Resort, which made $3.7 million in June, more than 50 percent more than the previous June.

All four casinos earned a combined $72 million in gross revenue for the month of June.

Maryland Live Casino’s $654.4 million in gross revenue means that the casino was making about $1.8 million a day before taxes. It also means, according to the state’s lottery and gaming control agency, that the Anne Arundel facility pumped about $253 million into the state’s education trust fund.

But once it opens, the two-story Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore, a few blocks from M&T Bank Stadium, will likely take a chunk of some of Maryland Live’s fortunes. According to gambling experts, Maryland Live stands to lose up to $130 million in slots and table games in the first year of Horsehoe’s existence. Still, Maryland Live is hardly going to fizzle out: Fiscal studies commissioned by the state still say it will still bring in up to $550 million in gambling revenue.

David G. Schwartz, the director of the Center for Gaming Research at UNLV, studies gambling industries across the country. He said he thinks Maryland will easily reach into the $1 billion-revenue club soon, joining Michigan, Ohio and Connecticut. (Nevada’s annual gross gambling revenues exceed $11 billion.)

“You can definitely see that once the National Harbor project comes online, and the Baltimore project comes online, Maryland will be a much bigger state,” Schwartz said, referring to MGM National Harbor’s casino, which is set to open in 2016.

Schwartz said he expects a healthy competition between the Baltimore and Anne Arundel County casinos. The Horseshoe casino will host satellite World Series of Poker events, which will be a huge draw, he said.

J. Freedom du Lac contributed to this report.

Ian Shapira is a features writer on the local enterprise team and enjoys writing about people who have served in the military and intelligence communities. He joined the Post in 2000 and has covered education, criminal justice, technology, and art crime.

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