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Maryland casinos bring $139 million in July, first full month open since coronavirus pandemic

After closing down in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, Maryland casinos opened in July to more than $139 million in gaming revenue, only a slight decrease from the same month a year ago, according to figures released Wednesday by Maryland Lottery and Gaming.

Operating at 50% capacity, casinos in the state generated $139,920,018, a 6.3% decline from June 2019, according to the state entity responsible for overseeing the casinos. About $58 million of that sum is reinvested in the state, with about $43 million going to Maryland’s Education Trust Fund and millions more contributing to the jurisdictions housing the casinos as well as the horse racing industry.

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The casinos, which were allowed to reopen starting in June with some COVID-19 restrictions in place, usually send $60 million per month to the state, but contributed nothing in April and May when they were closed. They sent $14.9 million to the state after a partially open month in June.

While overall revenue was down relative to this time last year, three state casinos saw increases: Hollywood Casino, Live! Casino & Hotel, and Rocky Gap Casino, according to a Wednesday news release from Maryland Lottery and Gaming.

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“The casinos worked very hard to reconfigure their operations for this ‘new normal,’ and while this is still uncharted territory in many ways, these are strong results, given the circumstances,” said Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director Gordon Medenica. “With limited entertainment options, people have been eager to get out and do something fun.”

Even as the facilities begin to recover financially from a monthslong closure prompted by the pandemic, workers have reported feeling unsafe, with some opting not to return to their jobs. The union representing dealers and floor supervisors said last month that some of the facilities aren’t doing enough to protect workers and patrons.

Some lack plexiglass shields at the gaming tables, and the health and safety guidelines are not written down or evenly applied, said Donna Wiley, a dealer who is a shop steward for UAW Local 17.

In Wednesday’s news release, Maryland Lottery and Gaming officials said casino operators are working with local and state public health officials to develop their reopening protocols. Temperature screenings are being conducted at the door, and the casinos have implemented social distancing and sanitation procedures, including a requirement that all employees and patrons wear face masks.

Maryland has six privately owned casinos: MGM National Harbor in Prince George’s County; Live! Casino & Hotel in Anne Arundel County; Horseshoe Casino Baltimore in Baltimore City; Ocean Downs Casino in Worcester County; Hollywood Casino Perryville in Cecil County; and Rocky Gap Casino Resort in Allegany County.

Baltimore Sun reporter Pamela Wood contributed to this article.

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