The results are in, and the business is booming! That’s the latest news report for Maryland’s casino industry. Last month, all but one of the state’s casinos saw an increase on their bottom line, with the group taking in nearly $88 million during September. In total, the state’s casino industry saw a 6.2 percent boost, with Maryland Live – the state’s largest casino – leading the way with a jump of nearly nine percent over the results from the previous year. Ocean Downs Casino followed suit, recording a 15 percent increase, and Rock Gap Casino recorded a six percent hike to their bottom line. Hollywood Casino in Perryville, Maryland, also joined in on the party, recording a five percent year-over-year increase in revenue.
Then, there was the one casino that recorded a drop: Baltimore’s Horseshoe Casino. So, why did the Horseshoe miss out on the benefits of a strong month for the gambling industry? According to the Maryland Gaming Commission, the results aren’t as bad as they may seem. The Horseshoe Casino held its grand opening in September of last year, so the euphoria of the new casino led to some extraordinarily high results. According to Gordon Medenica, Maryland’s Lottery and Gaming Director, the fact that the Horseshoe came close to matching that performance last month is still ‘pretty good’.
>Not everyone in the state has the same calm resolve regarding the Horseshoe’s slumping revenue. Stephanie Berkovits, a player at the Horseshoe, indicated that the staff and promotions on offer are generally better than those offered at Maryland’s other casinos, so the financial dip was a surprising turn of events. While this sentiment was echoed by many of the casino’s most loyal players, the truth behind the Horseshoe’s slow growth likely comes down to competition.For gamblers from nearby Virginia or Washington, D.C., choosing a casino is most likely a matter of location. For Virginians, the Maryland Live is most likely the shortest drive, which is an appealing benefit for casino-goers on the move. However, for the State of Maryland, the results are incredibly strong. The state has already forecast continued growth at its largest casinos – including Maryland Live and Horseshoe Baltimore – in the coming months, and the industry will be set to reach new heights following the opening of the state’s sixth casino, MGM National Harbor, in 2016.
As the Maryland casino industry continues to expand, officials run the risk of oversaturating a vibrant market. While demand for gambling options continues to grow with each passing year, one only needs to study the Atlantic City casino scene to get an idea of the dangers of cannibalizing the business of existing casinos with newer, more intriguing offerings. For this reason, many in Maryland are less than thrilled about the prospects of continuing to expand the state’s casino industry, even with the strong performance on display in recent years.
Whether the Horseshoe’s revenue slump was a result of inflated performance following last year’s launch or something less obvious, expansion of the Maryland casino industry resulting from the impending opening of MGM National Harbor will continue to put a squeeze on the state’s existing casinos.