The state of Maryland has vaulted to the top of the list when it comes to casino gambling expansion in the northeast over the past decade. Maryland has added casinos, and then added table games at those casinos, making it one of the more aggressive states for gaming expansion.
The increase in casino gambling, however, has cut into an already lucrative lottery business. In the time since the casinos have opened, the lottery sales have dropped periodically, leading some to wonder whether the casinos have been good for Maryland.
“Anytime gambling is added in any form in a state, it is going to cut into revenue for other forms of gambling,” said analyst Travis Green. “That is what we are seeing in Maryland. Residents are starting to spend their gambling money in the casinos, foregoing the lottery.”
The lottery has brought in over $800 million this year, a drop-off from previous years at this time. The two percent decline in revenue was expected when the casinos came to town.
The ability to win money at a quicker rate exists in casinos, and combined with the entertainment factor of a night out, the decision of gamblers to spend money in the casinos instead of on a lottery ticket, makes sense to some.
“My wife and I used to love to play the lottery, but we are on a fixed income, and we can’t afford to spend the extra money on the lottery,” said Maryland resident Nick Grant. “We go to the casino usually twice a month. It’s more fun than playing the lottery, and we can make a night out of it.”
The casino gambling has more than made up the two percent that has been lost in the lottery. In the time since the casinos have opened, gambling revenue in the state is up nearly 30 percent. That is a trade off that officials and residents will take.
“As long as the money is coming into the state, and helping the state budget, it doesn’t really matter where it is coming from,” said Marc Blenson.
Maryland is competing for gamblers with New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Massachusetts is also expected to have casinos up and running before the end of 2014.