BALTIMORE (WJZ) –Two of Maryland’s largest casinos strike a deal to scale back on slots and add a lot more table games. It’s welcome news for most gamblers, but may cost Maryland some of the education funds it counts on from slots.
Rick Ritter has the details on more with what this means for our area.
Move over slots and rake in the chips the stakes are higher than ever at two of the state’s top casinos, as Horseshoe and Maryland Live are all in at the table.
Horseshoe will soon add 30 more table games, Maryland Live will add 13,–both will eliminate 300 slots each, eying bigger crowds, and more cash.
“Our request to reduce the number of slot machines is really based on what the market here in Maryland is showing us,” said Chad Barnhill, General Manager of Horseshoe Casino.
There was some concern the state would oppose the plan which could lose a cut of profits from the slots–money that goes to the state’s education trust fund.
“On our busiest night which is New Year’s Eve, at any given time on casino floor, there were 1200 slot machines not being played,” said Robert Norton, General Manager of Maryland Live.
Under state regulations, casino operators keep 80 percent of revenue from table games, but only a little more than 30 percent from slots.
In December, Horseshoe made $22 million in revenue from slot machines and table games–down from November.
Maryland Live made more than $50 million.
“In this business you change or die,” said Norton.
The move draws a mixed reaction from some gamblers.
“I don’t think the tables will be good, I’m a gambler honey, I don’t think they’ll be good,” said one gambler.
“I don’t have a big feeling about the slots,” said Steve Blomberg.
But adds more than hundred jobs just in Baltimore.
“Bringing jobs to the city, that’s good,” one gambler said.
And more buzz downtown.
“If you just look at it from a tax perspective, it’s net positive for the state and with the jobs we’re adding on top of that, it really is a win win story,” Barnhill said.
Horseshoe says some of the additional table games will be in as early as next week.
Maryland Live officials believe the move will add close to a hundred jobs to their casino as well.