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Maryland reports gambling revenue for fiscal year

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Local,Maryland

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland's lottery and four casinos made $849.2 million for the state in the last fiscal year, a 2.4 percent increase over the previous fiscal year, the agency that oversees gambling in Maryland reported Monday.

The increase comes as lottery sales dropped about 1.7 percent to $1.7 billion, contributing $521.1 million in revenue to the state's general fund. Stephen Martino, director of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency, said the lower lottery sales are attributable to the growth in Maryland's casino industry.

"A reduction in traditional lottery revenue occurred last fiscal year, but that money combined with Education Trust Fund proceeds from casinos produced an overall increase in gaming revenue to the state," Martino said.

The four open casinos in the state generated $833.3 million in the last fiscal year, which ended June 30, with about $328.1 million going to the state's Education Trust Fund. That's an increase of $43.8 million from the previous fiscal year.

Maryland's casino industry is still developing. A fifth casino in the state, a $442-million Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore, is scheduled to open this month with 122,000 square feet of slot machines and table games like blackjack. MGM Resorts International is working on building a sixth casino at National Harbor in Prince George's County near the nation's capital. Work on grading at the site already has started, and the $925 million resort could open in 2016.

In addition to the money set aside for the state's Education Trust Fund, nearly $39 million in slot machine proceeds in the last fiscal year went to an account to increase Maryland horse racing purses. A separate account to renovate Maryland horse racing tracks received $9.5 million. Another $31 million went into a fund for local jurisdictions where the casinos are located, and $8.4 million was set aside for an account for small, minority and women-owned businesses. Another $11.6 million in slot machine proceeds went to pay operating costs for the lottery and gaming control agency.

The number of jobs at the four open casinos rose to about 4,000 in the last fiscal year, the lottery said.

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