ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland is having a run of luck at the casinos.

Pat Warren reports–the money collected by the state this fiscal year is tens of millions more than expected.

Whitney’s a winner at the wheel. Whitney Thompson is one of hundreds spending time and money at Maryland Live! this holiday weekend.

“Just winning a little bit,” she told WJZ. “Taking my little paycheck and making something big out of it, if I can.”

But nowhere near as big as the paycheck these gamers are cutting for the state. Maryland Live! is a holiday weekend destination.

It was the second stop for Ida and Tom Vathis.

“We were just at the harbor and now we came here and then we’re heading home,” said Ida.

“I love it,” Lafaithia Elliot told WJZ. “I mean, I like to gamble. I don’t do it a lot or often, but my son and his girlfriend are in town, so I thought we’d come in and eat a little lunch or something.”

Folks like the Elliots and Vathis poured $51 million into Maryland Live! last month, $7.8 million at Hollywood Casino, $4.8 million at Ocean Downs and $2.5 million at Rocky Gap.

Rob Norton, president and general manager of Maryland Live!, says June was an excellent month.

“For us, we have a great product right here in a great location. We create excitement and we give people the escape they’re looking for,” he said.

That escape put the state tens of millions ahead for fiscal year 2013. Casino revenue exceeds estimates by nearly $77 million.

Chalk a lot of that up to table games.

“Absolutely,” Norton told WJZ. “We’ve seen a whole new set of customers come in. The level of energy has picked up.”

It’s a big step up from slots parlors.

In November, voters approved 24 hour casino operation, and that has contributed to the state’s take as well.

The Horseshoe Casino–now under construction in Baltimore–is scheduled to open next year.


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