Early Numbers In For MGM National Harbor

It wasn’t even open for a full month, but the MGM National Harbor casino in December generated a little more than $1 million for the Maryland Thoroughbred Purse Dedication account funded by video lottery terminals.

Overall, December was a good month for Maryland casinos. According to Maryland Lottery and Gaming statistics, six casinos generated a record $133.47 million in gaming revenue, an increase of 27.9% from May 2016 when the previous record of $104.35 million was set by five casinos.

In a year-to-year comparison, December 2016 revenue was up 40.2% from the same month in 2015.

MGM National Harbor, located just across the Potomac River from Northern Virginia, opened Dec. 8. Gross gaming revenue per VLT per day was $313 in December, Maryland Lottery and Gaming reported.

Thoroughbred purses earned $3.62 million from VLTs at the state’s casinos in December compared with $2.93 million for December 2015—an increase of 23.5%. The thoroughbred racing industry accounts for an 80% share of the Purse Dedication fund (of which is split 89% to the Thoroughbred Purse Account and 11% to support the Maryland Bred Fund); the Standardbred industry gets the other 20% of the Purse Dedication fund, or about $1.46 million.

For calendar year 2016, the Purse Dedication account earned $51.05 million, with $40.84 million for Thoroughbred racing and breeding. The Race Track Facility Renewal Account, which gets 1% of VLT revenue, earned $7.23 million in calendar year 2016.

The December increase factors in a reduction in the percentage of VLT revenue that goes to purses. Under an agreement with the state, racing’s share at five casinos dropped from 7% to 6% with the opening of MGM National Harbor given an expected increase in overall revenue for the Purse Dedication account.

MGM National Harbor, Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, Maryland Live! Casino, Hollywood Casino Perryville, and Casino Ocean Downs now pay 6% to the purse account. Rocky Gap Casino Resort continues to pay 2.5% in VLT revenue.

Maryland Live! Casino led the way in December with a $1.37 million contribution to the Purse Dedication account. It generated $1.71 million in December 2015.

“We anticipated that December would be a record-breaking month, and we are tremendously enthusiastic about the future of Maryland’s casino program,” Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director Gordon Medenica said in a Dec. 5 release. “MGM National Harbor is an outstanding facility in an ideal location, and we are confident that its success will fuel the continued growth of revenue that supports vital state programs.”

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