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Md. monthly casino revenue drops below $40M for first time since June

Two out of three Maryland casinos showed year-over-year decreases in October revenue as the trio combined to generate $39.6 million last month, the first time since June the state’s slots parlors failed to break $40 million.

Maryland Live Casino generated $30.6 million from its 4,750 slot machines in October, or $208 per machine per day.

The Maryland State Lottery and Gaming Control Agency announced the numbers on the day after an election in which 52 percent of Maryland voters approved the General Assembly’s plan to expand casino gambling to include a sixth state casino, in Prince George’s County, and table games at every licensed slots parlor.

Monthly revenue totals are almost always reported on the fifth day of each month, unless that day falls on a weekend or other non-working day. Lottery officials said Monday that revenue calculations were delayed by government closures forced by superstorm Sandy last week.

Lottery Director Stephen L. Martino reiterated in an interview Wednesday that the election had nothing to do with the delayed release of the casino revenue.

“We had some storm impacts,” Martino said. “We just have a lot going on.”

Maryland Live Casino at Arundel Mills mall generated $30.6 million from its 4,750 slot machines in October, or $208 per machine per day. The casino debuted in June averaging almost $360 per machine, but only about 3,200 slot machines were operating at that point.

The Casino at Ocean Downs in Berlin saw its revenue shrink year-over-year by 8.3 percent. The casino, Maryland’s smallest with 800 slot machines, generated $3.5 million in October.

Penn National Gaming Inc.’s casino in Cecil County also continued its free fall from 2011 revenue figures.

In a year-over-year comparison, Hollywood Casino Perryville saw revenue dip 40 percent. The 1,500-slot casino generated $5.5 million last month.

Without Maryland Live’s sizeable contribution, overall casino revenue would have fallen 30.5 percent year-over-year.

Martino blamed last week’s storm on Ocean Downs’ poor year-over-year performance.

“They were closed a full two days,” Martino said. He added that doesn’t include time during which the casino was open but empty because residents in low-lying areas of the Eastern Shore stayed inside or evacuated as Sandy approached.

He said Perryville’s performance was also tied to the storm. Hollywood Casino closed early on Oct. 29 in preparation for Sandy, and did not reopen until midday Tuesday.

But the casino, Maryland’s first, has seen its revenue fall each month since Maryland Live opened on June 6. Hollywood Casino executives blame decreasing revenue on Maryland Live, the owners of which argued against lawmakers’ plan to build another casino in the state by citing the likelihood of market oversaturation.

Penn National spent $42 million trying to prevent passage of the expanded gambling referendum, offering a window into how much money the company expects to lose in Perryville and a West Virginia casino once a Prince George’s County gambling site begins operating.

Of the $39.6 million in combined revenue, $19.5 million went to the Education Trust Fund. Casino operators kept $13.1 million — 33 percent of total slot machine revenue.