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First Maryland Casino Plans To Downsize

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Meghan McCorkell joined the Eyewitness News team in July 2011 as a...
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PERRYVILLE, Md. (WJZ) — Casino controversy. As the General Assembly plans to discuss expanding gambling in the state, Maryland’s first casino takes a major financial hit.

Meghan McCorkell has more on the latest numbers.

Hollywood Casino Perryville lost nearly a third of its profits when Maryland Live! in Anne Arundel County opened. Now they’re planning to downsize.

A jackpot for Anne Arundel’s Maryland Live! casino comes at a cost: empty seats at Hollywood Casino Perryville.

“The demand is not what it was and the supply is too much,” said Hollywood Casino Perryville General Manager Bill Haynes.

With the new casino just an hour away, revenue from this July compared with last dropped more than 32 percent.

“I don’t know that it will ever come back to the levels of when they were the only game in town,” said Perryville Mayor Jim Eberhardt.

Now casino officials in Perryville are asking the state to take back a third of their 1,500 videogaming machines.

“It you have a bunch of games on your floor and nobody’s playing them, there’s no feeling of excitement,” Haynes said.

That excitement is alive at Maryland Live!, where they are pulling in more than a million dollars a day, a number they projected. On Opening Night, Joe Weinberg said, “We will be the number one taxpayer by far in the state.”

But a new hand may soon be dealt. Lawmakers will hold a special session this week to discuss a possible sixth casino at the National Harbor in Prince George’s County–30 minutes from Maryland Live.

In a statement, Weinberg said, “The state’s overall July casino revenues clearly demonstrate oversaturation is already a serious problem for Maryland.”

State Senator Nancy Jacobs agrees. She tells WJZ, “There’s only so much gambling income to go around and when you divide it and divide it and divide it, you’re cannibalizing the other facilities.”

It’s a gamble now in the hands of lawmakers.

Profits at the Casino at Ocean Downs in Ocean City also dropped more than seven percent from last July.

Officials say Hollywood Casino Perryville will open a new restaurant this Monday. They hope to add extra amenities to entice more customers.

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