Maryland Live! leads mid-Atlantic in March slots revenue

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Local,Maryland,Matt Connolly

Maryland Live! Casino's $44.6 million slots haul in March left mid-Atlantic competitors struggling to keep up.

How the Anne Arundel County's brand-new table games will fare, however, remains to be seen.

Maryland Live! brought in nearly 23 percent more than the region's next-highest earner -- Pennsylvania's PARX, at $36.4 million. The Borgata in New Jersey rounded out the top three with at least $30.8 million in March slots revenue. Nearly $22 million of Maryland Live!'s March revenue went to the state's education trust fund. The state gets 49.25 percent of gross gambling revenues.

Jackpot
Slots revenue, March 2013
Maryland Live! $44,613,545
PARX (Pennsylvania) $36,417,120
Borgata (New Jersey) $30,802,751
Sands Bethlehem (Pennsylvania) $27,451,189
Rivers (Pennsylvania) $27,435,784
Source: Maryland Live!

Casino officials expect Maryland Live! revenue to increase by 20 percent now that 122 table games are open. PARX's March table game revenue, $11.1 million, was about 30 percent as much as its slot revenue, while Borgata's $16.6 million in table game revenue was nearly 54 percent of its slots total.

Maryland gambling analyst James Karmel attributed Maryland Live!'s slots success to its prime location and lack of competition.

"It's very well positioned in a very affluent region," Karmel said. "It has, right now, something of a monopoly over the greater Washington-Baltimore area."

The two other Maryland casinos, Hollywood Casino Perryville and the Casino at Ocean Downs, near Ocean City, lag far behind their larger counterpart in revenue. Hollywood Casino, which opened 20 table games on March 6, generated $9.5 million in revenue in March, while Ocean Downs brought in $3.9 million.

For Maryland Live!, though, competition is on the way. Caesars Entertainment is planning to open a Baltimore casino with between 80 and 110 table games in 2014, while a Prince George's County casino can open two years later.

The state is accepting bids for the Prince George's facility through May 10. MGM Resorts International, which poured tens of millions of dollars into last year's fight to allow for a new casino, is expected to win approval for its planned $800 million luxury facility at National Harbor, though Maryland officials say they will only make a decision after assessing all bids.

"That definitely might have an impact when the Prince George's casino opens up," Karmel said. "But it's still early. We have to see how it plays out."

That still leaves Maryland Live! with at least a year of operation without major in-state competition. Casino officials are hoping that the new table games, along with a two-level poker room set to open this summer, will keep gamblers coming back even after major competitors open to the north and south.

"I've been waiting for this to happen since I got hired two years ago," Maryland Live! President and General Manager Rob Norton said the night table games opened. "We're just excited."

mconnolly@washingtonexaminer.com

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Matt Connolly

Examiner Staff Writer
The Washington Examiner