Cumberland Times-News

Local News

December 29, 2012

Gambling push may force rivals to fold

States continuing trend of cannibalizing one another’s markets in race for revenue

WASHINGTON — Maryland’s incursion into the world of legalized gambling is likely to bring the state millions of dollars in tax revenues, but industry experts predict the decision to allow table games will continue a decades-long tradition of states cannibalizing one another’s markets for personal gain.

Maryland voters on Nov. 6 approved Question 7, which legalized table games and around-the-clock gambling, and bumped the number of planned casinos in the state from five to six. The change means every mid-Atlantic state, except Virginia and the District of Columbia, allows some form of gambling, from virtual slot machines in New York to online gambling in Delaware.

“I never dreamed in a zillion years that it would be as prevalent as it is now,” said Jim Kilby, a gambling consultant and author who has spent 43 years in the business.

Maryland, in its attempt to reclaim the money gamblers have spent in neighboring states’ casinos, has shoehorned itself into an industry already straining from a user base fragmented across an ever-expanding playing field of gambling destinations.

A February 2012 market analysis by Business Research & Economic Advisers of Maryland’s emerging gambling industry showed the state could potentially gain about $200 million in tax revenues a year if voters approved Question 7.

After a historically expensive fall campaign fueled by about $90 million in advertising spending, Election Day resulted in a 52-to-48-percent win for casino proponents. The passage cleared the way for a casino to be built at National Harbor in Prince George’s County, which is likely to be operated by MGM Resorts International — the world’s second-largest gambling company.

“Most of the dire predictions about getting a gambling culture and the negative effects of gambling ... is probably less than what was originally envisioned, so if people have a desire to gamble, then you might as well get a piece of that dollar and use it for productive purposes,” said Robert W. Burchell, director of Rutgers University’s Ur-ban Planning and Policy Development Program.

Casinos of any kind were illegal in Maryland as recently as 2008. The decision to allow slots in 2008 — and now table games — is likely to hurt the casinos closest to the state’s borders, where Maryland gamblers have spent millions of dollars.

“By far the most important factor is geography,” said Bill R. Eadington, the director of the Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming at the University of Nevada, Reno. “Location is really the driving factor for an awful lot of customers.”

Eadington predicted the future casino at National Harbor would be successful because it will be better positioned to attract customers visiting Washington — which will in turn draw customers away from more rural casinos.

“Casinos that used to have a relative monopoly are going to find themselves losing market shares,” Eadington said. “It’s going to have a very dramatic effect, but nothing unusual compared to an industry where you introduce more supply.”

At Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Dover, Del., visitors from Maryland in 2011 contributed about half of the casino’s gaming win, according to its annual report. The casino, which last year raked in over $217 million in gaming revenues and funneled $87 million into the state’s coffers, is Delaware’s most profitable. Gambling expansion in Maryland and other states is expected to have a “significant adverse effect” on its visitation numbers over the coming years, the report said.

Dover Downs president Ed Sutor declined to be interviewed for this article. None of the casinos closest to Maryland in Delaware, Pennsylvania and West Virginia responded to requests for comments on how Maryland’s gambling expansion could affect their business.


Text Only
Local News
  • Easter experience Easter experience

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Game on: City interested in baseball study

    After it looked like the objection of a couple of constituents to a study on the feasibility of bringing a minor league baseball team to the area may have torpedoed the thought, county commissioners and some city officials sounded ready to sing a chorus of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” on Thursday.

    April 18, 2014

  • DEREK SHEELY Charges against helmet maker stand in case of Frostburg player’s death

    A Montgomery County judge this week declined to dismiss charges against a helmet manufacturer in a case brought by the parents of a Frostburg State University football player who died of head injuries in August 2011 following four straight days of heavy contact drills in practice.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • GAYLE MANCHIN W.Va. BOE president speaks on issues at WVSDB

    West Virginia Board of Education President Gayle Manchin responded to issues at the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and the Blind during an interview with the Times-News Wednesday morning.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • REGINALD REDMAN Moorefield man jailed on felony drug count

    A Moorefield man was arrested on various charges Thursday, including a felony drug offense for possession of amphetamines, according to the Keyser Police Department.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Blossoming optimism Blossoming optimism

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cemetery group’s efforts revive Oak Hill grounds Cemetery group’s efforts revive Oak Hill grounds

    After you drive Alexander and Furnace streets then navigate a couple of switchbacks on Cemetery Road, you’d figure there would be no more uphill.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Proposed county budget holds most agencies flat

    After taking into account an income tax shortfall, Allegany County Finance Director Jason Bennett said he’ll propose a budget that holds most outside agencies to flat funding and funds the Board of Education at what county officials say are maintenence of effort levels for 2015.

    April 17, 2014

  • RYAN WOLF Wolf named 2014-15 Garrett Teacher of the Year

    Southern Garrett High School teacher Ryan Wolf has been named the 2014-15 Garrett County Teacher of the Year.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rep. Delaney discusses congressional gridlock Rep. Delaney discusses congressional gridlock

    While giving a civics lesson at Frostburg State University on Thursday, U.S. Rep. John Delaney, congressman from Maryland’s sixth district, told students that the polarization in Congress is due primarily to redistricting and a poorly designed Congressional schedule.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read
News related video
Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Beau Biden Plans 2016 Run for Del. Governor Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military