File: Maryland Live Casino blackjack table, viewed through a surveillance camera. Maryland lottery sales are down for the second year in a row, likely because of increase of competition from casinos.(Courtesy photo.)

Maryland lottery sales decreased slightly for the second year in a row, state lottery officials reported Monday.

Overall, gambling contributed more to the state’s coffers in fiscal year 2014 compared to the year before, because of revenue from casinos. But the decline in lottery sales suggests Maryland has joined other states, such as Pennsylvania and Ohio, that have seen them take a hit once more casinos open.

Traditional lottery and casinos together sent $849.2 million to the state’s General Fund and Education Trust Fund, respectively, an increase of 2.4 percent from the previous fiscal year.

The lottery generated $1.724 billion in sales, down 1.7 percent. That was similar to the decline in fiscal year 2013, which ended a 16-year run of annual increases. That year, lottery sales fell by about 2 percent, to $1.756 billion.

Tax revenue from casinos more than makes up for any drop in lottery sales, but the lottery still contributes far more to the state’s general fund than casinos, about $545 million last year.

The state has hired researchers to take a closer look at the impact that the expansion of casino gaming is having on the state lottery. Those findings are scheduled to be released Thursday at the next Lottery and Gaming Control Commission meeting.

Of note is a recent Capital News Service multi-part series on gambling in Maryland that began with an analysis of Maryland lottery sales data and found that the strongest sales tend to be higher in lower-income Zip codes in Baltimore City and Prince George’s County. A prime example, CNS noted, is Park Heights in Baltimore:

Boarded-up homes, crumbling store fronts and police cameras with blue lights line the streets of Park Heights. It’s in one of Baltimore’s poorest ZIP codes, where the median household income is about $35,000. Yet people spent $34 million on lottery tickets here in calendar year 2012 — more than any other ZIP code in the state, a Capital News Service analysis found.

Both Baltimore and Prince George’s are the sites of future casinos, with Horseshoe Baltimore slated to open Aug. 26

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