Casinos in Maryland started re-opening after the long hiatus due to the spread of the highly contagious virus, with the hope that as major sports leagues are still halted and movie theatres closed, people have not much to choose from regarding entertainment, and will rely on the precautionary measures undertaken by the gaming venues to keep them safe and return to the slots and tables.
Horseshoe Casino Baltimore resumed business Friday opening doors for its top-tier customers, with the general public planned for Sunday, while Live Casino & Hotel in Anne Arundel County will open doors for the public Monday, after more than a week dedicated to rewards members.
Casinos Look to Provide Entertainment
Casinos in the state are hoping to fill the entertainment gap and attract people’s money to the gaming floors as data from the lottery sales in the state shows demand for adrenaline and gambling is there. The lottery which sales numbers were down more than 20% in March and April are jumping now, with last week’s numbers showing a 21% rise.
For Maryland, casino money matter, as last fiscal year the land-based gaming facilities generated $717.5 million for the state, a number out of reach for this fiscal year ending June 30, 2020. Expectations are that the state will get at around 20% less, or $190 million, with the bulk of it dedicated to Maryland’s education trust fund. Despite the drop, estimations now are much better than the ones a few months ago when there was no certainty whether casinos would be able to re-open before the end of June.
Besides education, some community grants will also lose part of their funding, and the Maryland Racing Commission estimated a loss of $4 million per month for the racing industry, money the industry dedicates to supplement purses and breeding programs.
Focus on Casino Regulars
Despite some good news from other states where casinos have re-opened earlier and demand for gaming was robust so far, casinos in Maryland are cautious in their approach. St.Gov. Larry Hogan confirmed earlier the state’s six casinos were allowed to resume operations June 19, albeit with 50% capacity, yet most of them elected for re-starting with loft-launches for rewards members during morning hours when typically the number of customers is low. By re-orienting staff and eliminating long lines, casinos are emphasizing on catering to their regulars, which they see as central for sustaining the resumption of the business.
But gamblers could see casinos were not the same from the very moment of entering the property. Accustomed to breezing into the building, casino guests would have to wait 6 feet apart from each other as per the dotted floor markings leading to the gaming floor. Before entering, they would have to pause for a body temperature scan and remove the mask for a full face picture taken for security purposes.
Yet, the mood inside the casinos was somewhat subdued, with no crowds around the craps and roulette tables and no shouts coming out of the mouth of the slot machines jackpot winner.