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Md. casino revenue dips in June

Revenue from the state’s five casinos dipped in June to $91.4 million after a record-setting May.

The decline of $4.9 million month-over-month was driven by a more than $5.1 million drop in revenue at Maryland Live Casino.

Overall, casino revenue year-over-year is up more than $19.3 million or about 27 percent, mostly driven by the opening of Horseshoe Casino late last summer. Excluding Horseshoe Casino, state gaming revenue is down more than $3.7 million, or roughly 5 percent, compared to June 2014.

Horseshoe Casino rebounded in June, posting nearly $23.1 million in slots and table game revenue after a lackluster previous month that was blamed on public perceptions of the city related to riots and a wave of homicides for the month.

“May ended up soft for us,” Alex Dixon, vice president and assistant general manager of Horseshoe Casino, told the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Commission two weeks ago. “We all thought it would be because of the unrest. That being said, we’re coming back strong in the month of June.”

In May, the 24-hour casino, which opened in late August, was forced to close early as a result of a state of emergency declared after the riot that followed the funeral of Freddie Gray, who died from injuries sustained while in police custody. That closure, coupled with more than 40 murders in the city for the month, hurt the revenue of the venue that has so far not performed up to the expectations of gaming officials and analysts.

Dixon said Horseshoe turned a corner in June bolstered by a number of promotions, including musical acts.

“We’re excited about getting people to come back downtown to the property,” Dixon said.

Dixon said the addition of off-track-betting has shown positive results even though the revenue does not directly factor into the revenue tracked by the lottery and gaming commission. The new kiosks corresponded with the Kentucky Derby and the first Triple Crown winner in nearly 40 years.

Dixon hinted that the casino might consider asking for another reduction of slot machines and noted that an approved reduction of 300 slot machines earlier this year led to an increase in per-unit revenue.

Maryland Live Casino continues to outpace its competitors, posting nearly $53 million in total revenue for June. The total represents a decline from May, when the Hanover-based venue benefited from the curfew in place that affected Horseshoe Casino just 12 miles away.

The June 2015 report for Maryland Live represents a nearly $3.6 million or 6.3 percent decrease year-over-year.

Hollywood Casino in Perryville, which opened nearly five years ago, reported generating more than $6.4 million in combined revenue from slots and table games — a decrease of about $700,000 month over month. The figure represents a decrease of more than $577,000 compared to the same time last year.

The Casino at Ocean Downs reported generating nearly $5.3 million from its slots-only operation. The figure represents a nearly $300,000 increase month over month and a nearly $484,000 increase compared to the same time last year. The casino operates 800 slot machines and is the only Maryland casino with no table games.

Officials of the casino near Ocean City attributed the performance to the return of seasonal summer customers.

Rocky Gap Casino in western Maryland generated nearly $3.7 million in June revenue from its slots and table games — a nearly $36,000 decrease over May. Compared to last year, the figure represents an increase in revenue of nearly $478,000.

Two weeks ago, the commission approved the addition of 54 additional slot machines at Rocky Gap, including 24 that will be part of a new outdoor gaming area that will allow smoking. The commission also gave its approval to a proposed merger between the parent company of Rocky Gap and Las Vegas-based Golden Gaming.