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Editorial: Casino concerns

Just when it looked like we might get a quick, much-needed fiscal boost from the Hollywood Casino Perryville, revenue plunged more than $4 million in its second month of operation.

Lottery Director Stephen Martino says the decline was expected because new casinos often start strong and then tail off for a bit as the first burst of interest fades. Martino says revenue in January and February will be a better indicator of the Harford County casino’s earning potential.

Perhaps so, but Michael Hicks, director of the Ball State University Center for Business and Economic Research, said we should be concerned about a revenue figure of less than $169 per slot machine in November versus $246 per machine per day in October.

He also told The Daily Record that while a new casino’s attendance does usually drop off, that typically takes several months.

Meanwhile, the folks from the lottery and Hollywood Casino came up with a new ploy this week to entice customers — free food and drinks.

That’s a painful reminder that slots alone are not the answer to the state’s fiscal problems — short-term or long-term.