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Maryland casinos net $45 million in December

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Photo - AP File
Casinos in Maryland made nearly $378 million in revenue in 2012.
AP File Casinos in Maryland made nearly $378 million in revenue in 2012.
Local,Maryland,Matt Connolly,Gambling

Maryland casinos made nearly $378 million in revenue in a year that saw the table set for three new facilities and a bevy of other expansions.

The Free State's three casinos brought in $45 million in December -- $36 million of which came from Maryland Live! in Anne Arundel County. Hollywood Casino Perryville near the Delaware border made $6 million in revenue, down from $9.5 million in December 2011, while the Casino at Ocean Downs near Ocean City made $3.3 million, down from $3.7 million in December last year.

Casino revenues shot up as soon as Maryland Live! opened in June. Some of that came at the expense of the other two casinos, however -- revenue at that pair fell about 25 percent combined from 2011 to 2012.

Experts expect gambling revenue to continue rising as more casinos spring up across the state. A casino in Rocky Gap in Western Maryland is planned for this summer, with a large facility run by Caesars Entertainment set to open in Baltimore in 2014.

A new casino in Prince George's County, likely an $800 million luxury site at National Harbor, can open in 2016. That was approved in the same ballot initiative that allowed table games and 24/7 operation, the latter of which began at Maryland Live! on Dec. 27.

Maryland casino analyst James Karmel said the success of these new casinos -- and thus the amount of money the state gets from them -- is dependent on how many out-of-state gamblers the facilities can attract.

"We don't know the extent to which the Maryland casinos will draw from outside the region yet," he said. "It's true there's only so much business within the greater D.C.-Baltimore region."

Karmel added that the new Prince George's casino will have the best chance of drawing people from the relatively untapped Northern Virginia market as well as tourists visiting the District. National Harbor is 4.5 miles from Old Town Alexandria and 11 miles from the White House.

Revenue also is expected to rise with the addition of table games, expected to come once regulations have been put forward for public hearing and approved by the state. The Maryland gambling commission approved a set of preliminary regulations for table games and rule guidelines for blackjack and craps last month, though it still has to set rules for 15 other potential games.

Maryland Live! is planning to add 150 tables once regulations are in place, creating 1,200 new jobs in the process, according to spokeswoman Carmen Gonzales.

mconnolly@washingtonexaminer.com

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