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Maryland casinos see their revenues plummet in March amid coronavirus

Revenues at the state’s six casinos plunged by more than half last month compared to a year ago after they were closed as part of the effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency said Friday.

Casinos were closed on March 16 as part of a series of mandates by Gov. Larry Hogan that shuttered eat-in restaurants, shopping malls, gyms, movie theaters and other gathering places.

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Last month’s casino revenues were down almost 58 percent compared to March 2019, a drop of $94.6 million according to the agency. Total revenues for the six casinos for March were $68.7 million, officials said.

Lottery sales also were down about 30 percent, said Gordon Medenica, director of the agency.

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“Bars and restaurants, which are closed under the current directive, account for about 15% of our retailers,” Medenica said in a statement. "People simply are staying home, as they should, and not playing as much.”

The drop in gaming revenues comes a year after the state’s casinos hit their single-month record, generating $163.2 million last March, Maryland Lottery and Gaming said.

The Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore recorded the largest decrease, more than 61 percent compared to the prior March, while Live Casino & Hotel in Anne Arundel County had the smallest, less than 56 percent.

The casinos contributed nearly $28.3 million to the state in March, including $21.2 million to the Education Trust Fund, the agency said.

By comparison, casino revenues totaled $151.3 million in February, a more than 10 percent increase over the previous February. The casinos contributed $62.9 million to the state, including $47.2 million for the education fund.

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