In an effort to move more money to the Maryland casinos, gaming operators of the state have requested a reduced payout to be required for slot machine gaming. If approved, tens of millions in cash would shift from payouts to players to the casino facilities.

The five casinos of the state recently sent a group of recommendations that included the request to lower the return to players by ten percent. The information of the requests was obtained by The Baltimore Sun based on a Public Information Act request.

Sent to the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency, the proposal is seeking a relaxed requirement for each casino in slot machine payouts. The operators currently are required to pay out 90 to 95 percent of money wagered at the gaming machines over a one year time frame. The casinos would like to see this amount lowered to a minimum payout of 85 percent which would increase the amount of wagers retained from the game play by the casino.

According to the Maryland Assistant Director for Gaming, Charles LaBoy, the patrons of casinos would earn less winnings but the hold would increase, so there would be potential revenues for the state as an upside. LaBoy did not state how much in actual revenue would be earned by the change but it has been estimated to be in the tens of millions which would go to the casinos and state. During this fiscal year, slot machine gaming earned $622 million from the five casinos of the state with $290 million going towards the Education Trust Fund and $229 million going to casino operators.

The casinos have stated that the proposal would allow them the flexibility needed to create innovative slot gaming options that will include a wide variety of payouts. Seeking a wider cushion, the casinos also state that the payout changes to 87 to 85 percent as requested is still higher than other states.

A decision on the proposal is not expected until later on this summer, with the General Assembly Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review as well as the state gaming regulators having to approve the proposal.


3 Responses

  1. Steven Norton

    This headline is very misleading. Maryland casinos are looking to reduce the pay back on specific machines, but it would likely have a minimum impact to the overall slot payback, which is currently over 90%. The only denominations likely to be changed would be some of the penny machines. When we opened in Atlantic City in 1978, the minimum payback was 87% and we had no denominations smaller than nickels.

    • joseph royster

      With a State gaming tax of 67% on slot revenues, I can’t blame them for wanting to keep more of the slot drop. What really needs to happen is Maryland needs to check their spending and lower taxes on its citizens in general and on gaming in particular–67% is just obscene.

    • Lars Jones

      Thank you for your feedback Mr. Norton. If there is a factual error in the headline or the body of the article we would be glad to issue a correction.

      Our understanding is that all five casinos signed on to the recommendations and that, if approved, each would have the ability to lower the RTP on any machine. Ms. Kelly did mention in the second to last paragraph that, “…the proposal would allow them the flexibility needed to create innovative slot gaming options that will include a wide variety of payouts.”

      For the benefit of your argument I will mention to our readers now that Las Vegas slot machines only have to pay back 75%. Competition among casinos creates a business environment where players will likely never play on a machine set that low (except maybe at the airport or a rural gas station, if then). There is no reason to believe that all Maryland casinos would set all machines to the lowest possible return to player percentage. However, I believe our readers deserve to know that, if approved, they could.

      Thank you again for taking the time to let your views be known, and thank you for reading World Casino News.


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