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Maryland’s July slots revenue is highest yet

The Maryland State Lottery Agency is using July’s revenue numbers to start patterning how the state’s casinos fare through the seasons.

“More than anything else, we need time to establish patterns,” said Stephen L. Martino, the agency’s director.

Maryland’s two casinos brought in $15.5 million in revenue in July, the first month of fiscal 2012, the agency announced Friday.

Hollywood Casino Perryville generated more than $10.2 million, or an average of $219.23 for each of the 1,500 machines at the Cecil County facility. That average is more than the $210 per machine the state said it would average before the casinos opened.

The Casino at Ocean Downs, which has 750 machines, made $5.3 million for the month, or an average of $215.64.

The $15.5 million is the biggest monthly amount since the Perryville casino, Maryland’s first, opened in September. The second best month was April, at $13.5 million. Revenue had risen steadily in the beginning of 2011, but had dipped during May and June.

Click here to see our interactive slot machine that shows casino revenue for April through July.

Martino said that Ocean Downs’ performance is based on the weather and tourist season because of its proximity to Ocean City. The summer months have brought steady increases for the casino which opened in January. Martino said he wouldn’t be surprised if revenue drops as the weather gets colder.

With the Perryville casino, it is more difficult to determine the external factors that could affect revenue, Martino said.

“Clearly Perryville is not going to get tourist traffic to it, that’s not where it’s at,” Martino said. “We’re going to have to see what patterns will develop. That will take at least a couple of years.”

Hollywood Casino Perryville Marketing Director Marc DeLeo said the excessive heat might have drawn more visitors who would rather seek air conditioning and participate in indoor entertainment. Having five weekends in July also helped boost numbers, he said.

“Saturday’s our big day,” DeLeo said. “August so far has been more of the same, but it only has four weekends in it.”

The casino’s promotions have also helped to bring in visitors. Players will be able to win an iPad or $500 in slot play on Saturday, and casino officials will give away a toolkit Aug. 21. The casino is also going to give away a car or $20,000 in cash as a promotion for its one-year anniversary in September, DeLeo said.

Comparing Maryland’s casino industry against that of other states will also take time, until all of the state’s five facilities are functioning, Martino said.

Pennsylvania’s 26,403 slot machines averaged $266.71 per machine in July, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

Maryland’s third gaming facility, Maryland Live! Casino, broke ground Jan. 27 for its temporary facility and is scheduled to open next to the Arundel Mills mall in June 2012.

The two casinos have generated $103 million in revenue since September.

The largest portion of the July revenue, $7.5 million, will go to the state’s education fund. The casinos keep one-third of the revenue. The remaining money goes to horse racing purse accounts, local grants, race track facilities, the Maryland Lottery and small, minority and women-owned businesses.