With casinos closed in April, the Maryland Lottery reported no revenue from casino gaming in April, a loss of $60 million to the state in year-over-year revenue for the month.
Overall revenue is down more than $85 million in the past 10 months compared to Fiscal Year 2019, the state lottery said in a news release Tuesday.
The casinos reported $145.2 million in April 2019 revenue with $60 million going to the state to fund education ($45 million to the Education Trust Fund), community and horse racing initiatives, according to the commission's report.
While there is not a timetable for reopening the six casinos, plans are being developed to ensure the health and safety of employees and patrons.
“The casinos are working hard on preparations for reopening,” Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director Gordon Medenica said in a news release. “One advantage is that they already have extensive surveillance and security measures in place, which gives them unique capabilities for monitoring their patrons’ adherence to social distancing and other safety protocols.”
Last month Medenica said the state could see revenue fall by $250 million in Fiscal Year 2020 because revenue from casinos and lottery games has declined.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan shut down the state’s six casinos — Hollywood Casino Perryville in Cecil County; Horseshoe Casino Baltimore in Baltimore City; Live Casino & Hotel in Anne Arundel County; MGM National Harbor in Prince George’s County; Ocean Downs Casino in Worcester County; and Rocky Gap Casino Resort in Allegany County — three horse racing tracks and off-track betting parlors indefinitely on March 15.
On March 30, Hogan issued an indefinite stay-at-home order for state residents and it remains in place. According to the lottery, March revenue for the casinos was $68.7 million. It was $151.3 million in February. In March 2019 the casinos posted a record $163.2 million in revenue.
“These are truly unprecedented times,” Medenica said in the news release. “The casinos generate vital revenue for the state, but we remain focused on the health and safety of the casinos’ patrons and employees as we plan for reopening.”
The Maryland General Assembly approved a sports betting bill in March before adjourning the session early. Voters will have final say on legalizing sports betting in November. If voters approve the measure, the legislature will have to work out how sports betting will be implemented, tax rates and determining who gets licenses.
The legislation will include mobile and onsite sports betting. Casinos, racetracks and some sports venues in Maryland would have sportsbooks under previous legislation.
Although Maryland has had casino gambling for years, it has fallen behind neighboring Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Delaware, which have sports betting. With Virginia legalizing sports betting and looking to launch it by the end of the year and Washington, D.C., rolling out sports betting when sports leagues return, there is pressure on Maryland to enact sports betting.