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Md. casinos seek to add table games, reduce slot machines. (The Daily Record/Lizzy McLellan)

Senate questions slot machine reductions

State lottery officials will travel to Annapolis Friday to brief the Senate on the effect of requested reductions of slot machines at Maryland Live and Horseshoe Casino.

Sen. Edward J. Kasemeyer, chairman of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, asked the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission, to defer decisions on the requests that were scheduled to be discussed at a meeting of the commission today in Baltimore.

“As you know, any reduction in the number of video lottery terminals will have a significant impact on state revenues,” Kasemeyer wrote in a Jan. 21 letter to Kimberly Robertson Pannell, who chairs the lottery and gaming commission. “As such, I request that the commission delay any decisions on these requests until the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee has had an opportunity to receive an briefing on the impact the reductions may have on state revenues.”

Maryland Live, which has 4,222 slot machines, has asked the commission for permission to remove 300 “underperforming video lottery terminals.”

Horseshoe Casino, which opened in August, is requesting permission to eliminate 300 of its 2,500 slot machines.

Both casinos say they want to replace the games with an expanded selection of table games.

The requests were not unexpected. Last month, operators of Maryland Live told the commission that it planned on making such a request after the state approved a reduction of 300 slot machines at Hollywood Casino in Perryville.

Analysts said the elimination of 300 machines would reduce projected state revenues by $1.2 million. Officials with the casino and the state said they believe eliminating machines that do not generate enough revenue to cover their costs will ultimately result in more money for both the facility and the state over the long term.

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