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Senate Raises Revenue Loss Issue over Slot Reductions in Maryland

Horseshoe CasinoThe issue of reducing slot machines in two casinos in Maryland has taken a new turn with the State casino regulators deciding to first apprise the Senate on its affects. The two casinos involved namely Horseshoe and Maryland Live! Casinos, had requested permission to eliminate 300 underperforming slot machines each.

The matter has been raised by Edward Kasemeyer, chairman of the Maryland’s Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, who believe that such a cut could severely impact the state revenue.

Kasemeyer’s letter to the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission has requested the gambling body to defer their decision, due on Friday, and take the economic angle into consideration.

According to the letter, Kasemeyer has said that any reduction in the number of video lottery terminals will have a ‘significant impact on State revenues’.

The letter, addressed to the commission’s chairman Kimberly Robertson Pannell, has requested the commission to delay any final verdict on the matter until the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee receive a briefing on the impact the reductions in slots may have on state revenues.

Maryland Live has 4,222 slot machines in addition to 189 table games. It plans to remove 300 slots to make way for 13 table games.

Horseshoe Casino is going big on table games, with plans to add 30 more to their existing number 147 table games by removing 300 of the 2,500 slots.

The request comes at a time when State authorities recently gave permission to Perryville’s Hollywood Casino to reduce their slot machine strength by 300.

The impact of these casinos letting go of 600 underperforming video lottery terminals could be devastating on the state’s revenue as it stands to lose to $500,000 in the short term. This will be in addition to the offset caused by the table games.

Casino operators keep 80% of the proceeds from table games, while their collection from slot machines is 33%. No wonder the casinos are keen to expand on the table games front!

However, the casino owners are justifying the cut, saying the revenue from those underperforming slot machines is less than the cost of operating them, which is why it is better to make way for a more profitable option.

Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission’s spokesperson, Erica Palmisano said a hearing at the Budget and Taxation will be held soon in which the brunt on the revenue stats would be studied further.

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