Maryland Blamed For West Virginia Losses

New racetrack casinos in Maryland and Ohio are luring gamblers and taking revenue from West Virginia's four racinos, where revenue is down 11.5 percent for the fiscal year. Those numbers could take another hit when a new casino complex opens in Baltimore this summer and the $925 million MGM National Harbor casino complex opens in 2016.

Officials in West Virginia are blaming competition from new casinos in Maryland and Ohio for the 11.5 percent drop in revenue from the state’s four racinos in the fiscal year. Revenue at Hollywood Casino in Charles Town is down 14.5 percent from last year, although the property brings in twice as much revenue as the other three racetrack casinos and the Greenbrier Casino combined. Again, the blame is focused on new competition in Maryland. More bad news is coming with the opening of a new casino complex in downtown Baltimore this summer, plus the 2016 debut of the 5 million MGM National Harbor casino complex near Washington, D.C.

A new Moody’s report of 15 states indicated that in 11 of them experienced lower casino revenue in May 2014 compared to last year. The states that had growth included Ohio, up 34 percent; Maryland, up 8.9 percent; and Pennsylvania, up 0.4 percent—the states that are stealing casino gambling revenue from West Virginia.

Delaware officials also blame new casino competitors in Maryland, and Pennsylvania, for falling revenue at that state’s three racinos. To stop the drop, the state General Assembly recently approved a $10 million bailout for the racetrack casinos.