Topping the $1 billion mark for first time, state officials in Maryland attributed the 2.2 increase from last year to casino revenue and lottery sales.

According to Gordon Medenica, the state’s new Lottery and Gaming Control Agency director, an estimated $487 million came from the state’s five casinos while $525 million came from lottery proceeds, exceeded only by income, sales and corporate taxes. The former New York State Lottery chief is optimistic that record numbers will trend into 2018 for Maryland.

In addition to the Horseshoe Casino Baltimore opening this year, the state can expect the new MGM National Harbor casino and resort to open its doors the later part of 2016. According to Medenica, “If MGM opens in the fall of 2016, give them a year just to get mature as a business and create a player base and regular customers and all of the things that it takes just to ramp up as a business.” He added that “I think you’re going to see big growth numbers on the casino side for at least a couple or three years.” The director estimates the growth could continue into 2018.

While overall lottery revenue is up for the state, the results were mixed, with sales for instant ticket games up, and sales for games such as Mega Millions and Powerball on the decline. With approximately 60 instant ticket games in circulation at any given time, the sales account for only 30 percent of lottery sales, lower than many other states. Medenica plans to increase the instant games’ share saying, “I mean, the goal is to get it up over 50 percent, but I haven’t put a timetable on it. We’re running at a double-digit growth rate. And I think, already, the early results six weeks into this [2016] fiscal year are pretty similar in that kind of double-digit growth.”

Because the state of Virginia doesn’t allow casinos, Medenica expects the building of the new MGM casino directly across the Potomac River from the state to be a geographical asset for Maryland.

The state of Maryland’s five other casinos are the Casino at Ocean Downs, Maryland Live Casino, Rocky Gap Casino Resort, and the first, the Hollywood Casino Perryville which opened its doors in 2010.

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