Maryland's casino revenue fell as summer turned into fall, even as the state's largest gambling facility added new slot machines in September.
The Maryland Lottery reported $42.9 million in casino revenue statewide, down from $44.6 million in August.
At the Maryland Live! casino near Arundel Mills, revenues dropped slightly from $32.4 million in August, to $32.0 million in September. The drop comes even after the facility boosted the number of video gaming terminals from 3,710 to 4,750 on Sept. 12.
But lottery officials said the figures at Maryland Live! should not be cause for alarm.
"They already have a lot of capacity," Maryland Lottery Director Stephen Martino said. "Adding more [machines] was not necessarily going to add a lot of traffic. There's a relatively fixed amount of gaming revenue and now they're just spreading it across more machines."
Maryland Live! officials said the additional slots helped the casino grow its presence in the region.
“While our neighboring states saw a decline in revenue for September, our Phase 2 expansion, additional slot machines and great casino promotions have allowed us to increase our market share,” said Rob Norton, the president and general manager for Maryland Live!
Casino revenue also fell by 8 percent at the Hollywood Casino in Perryville, and 13 percent at Ocean Downs Casino.
Martino said the declines from August into September are expected, as interest typically wanes as the summer comes to a close. This is especially true at Ocean Downs, where beach vacationers decline rapidly after Labor Day, he said.
Examining year-over-year revenue numbers usually offer a more fair comparison, but can't be done with Maryland Live!, which only opened in June.
Hollywood Casino's revenue dropped by $3,305,712, or 35.6 percent, when compared to the previous September. Martino said the drop can be attributed largely to new competition from Maryland Live!
All revenue from casinos in Maryland is split between operators and the state, which distributes its share to education funding, and other initiatives.
Here's how the $42.9 million was divided in September:
- Education Trust Fund, $20.8 million
- Casino share: $14.1 million
- Horse racing purse account: $3 million
- Local impact grants: $2.36 million
- Race tracks facility renewal account: $1.07 million
- Maryland Lottery: $857,981
- Small, women-owned and minority businesses: $643,486
Martino acknowledged that any projections would be changed if voters approve an expansion of gambling on the November ballot. But, he said the Maryland Lottery was happy with how things are going so far.
“I think were going to need a couple years to see what the trends are," Martino said. "We continue to be pleased that the program is delivering on the promise to deliver revenue for the state of Maryland."
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the Maryland Live! casino opened in July. It opened in June. Patch regrets the error.