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Md. casino revenue more than estimates for fiscal year

ANNAPOLIS — Maryland’s four casinos exceeded revenue estimates for the recently ended fiscal year by about 14 percent, according to numbers released by the Maryland Lottery on Friday.

The casinos generated gross revenue of $608.4 million in fiscal year 2013, which ended June 30. That is $76.8 million more than the state’s Board of Revenue Estimates had projected for the fiscal year.

The board had estimated $531.5 million would be generated in the fiscal year, with $498.3 million coming from slot machines and $33.2 million from table games such as blackjack. The casinos ended up generating $560.3 million in slot machine revenue and about $48 million in table games.

Of the gross revenue, $284.3 million is set aside for the state’s education trust fund. The casino operators receive about $223.8 million. About $39.1 million goes to horse racing purses, and $30.7 million is put aside for local impact grants. Another $10.8 million goes to renewing horse racing tracks. The Maryland Lottery receives $11.2 million, and a fund to help small, minority- and women-owned businesses receives $8.4 million.

Stephen Martino, the state’s lottery director, attributed the higher-than-expected revenues to several factors.

In Hanover, Maryland Live, the state’s largest casino, continued to ramp up through the fiscal year by increasing amenities. It also added table games in April. Hollywood Casino Perryville debuted table games in March. Rocky Gap Casino Resort in western Maryland opened in May.

Martino also noted that the Board of Revenue Estimates has a tendency to be conservative in its projections.

Maryland casinos, which initially were allowed to have only slot machines, had been facing greater competition from casinos in neighboring states that had table games.

“I certainly think toward the end of the (fiscal) year, any competitive disadvantage that Maryland casinos were laboring under was gone,” Martino said.

Maryland Live far outpaced the state’s other casinos in June, generating a total of $51.4 million from slot machines and table games. The casino’s June revenue increased by $22.9 million, or 80.5 percent from June 2012.

Rocky Gap pulled in $2.5 million from both slot machines and table games in June. The Casino at Ocean Downs near Ocean City brought in $4.8 million in June. The Hollywood Casino Perryville generated $7.8 million in June from slots and table games.

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