Decision on casino slot machine reduction postponed

A decision on whether Maryland Live and Horseshoe Baltimore can eliminate some slot machines has been put off.

State casino regulators postponed a decision on whether Maryland Live Casino and Horseshoe Baltimore Casino can eliminate some slot machines and add more table games until lawmakers can review the potential impact on state revenues.

Edward J. Kasemeyer, chairman of the Maryland Senate's Budget and Taxation Committee, requested the delay. The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission had been set to consider the matter on Thursday.

"As you know, any reduction in the number of video lottery terminals will have a significant impact on State revenues," Kasemeyer wrote in a letter to the commission.

Maryland Live, which has 4,222 slots and 189 table games, asked to remove 300 slot machines and add at least 13 table games. Horseshoe, which has 2,500 slots and 147 table games, requested eliminating 300 slots and adding 30 table games.

Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency staff determined that in the "short term," the state would lose nearly $500,000 in revenue from the reduction of slot machines at Maryland Live, offset by an unknown amount by the increase in table games. Casino operators are allowed to keep 80 percent of the proceeds from table games and 33 percent from slot machines.

Horseshoe's proposal, with more table games, would result in a short term state revenue boost of $260,000, agency staff concluded. The time periods for the calculation were not specified in commission documents.

Erica L. Palmisano, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency, said the Budget and Taxation hearing will be held Friday morning.

cwells@baltsun.com

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