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How many casinos are too many for Maryland?

| January 22, 2019, 09:11 AM
Rams Head

There are only eight states smaller than Maryland, yet the Old Line State gets a big chunk of change ($57.4 million a year) from casino revenues.

On average, each American casino creates employment opportunities for 787 people, either directly or indirectly. This ultimately means Maryland’s six land-based casinos employ somewhere in the region of 4,000 people.

The economic benefits to Maryland from gambling culture are clear to see, but has the number of casinos in the state reached breaking point?

How many casinos are there in Maryland?

 In total, there are six land-based casinos in Maryland, which roughly works out at a ratio of 1 casino per 1 million residents. Putting that into context, in the city of Las Vegas alone the ratio is 1:6 – 169 operators in total, dwarfing Maryland’s figure in comparison.

Nationwide, each American casino caters to just over 700,000 people. However if the anomalous Las Vegas is taken out of the equation, that figure rises to 1:912,000 people, which brings Maryland in line with much of the US.

Some would argue that just one casino is too many. Legal gambling in the United States has more than its fair share of opponents.

In 2017 US casinos made $76 billion in revenue – almost ten times that made by the music industry – and groups including the MCEPG argue that enough is enough. They see the US, and Maryland in particular, as overly saturated with casinos and vehemently oppose the building of new resorts.

However, a good deal of the income from Maryland’s six casinos is reinvested into public services such as transportation, hospitals and schools. In November 2018 Marylanders voted in favor of an increase in education funding taken directly from casino revenues.

Considering the two record-breaking months achieved in 2018, it seems as though the state benefits even more from its highly-rated casino experiences.

Should online gambling be legalized in Maryland?

Again there are vocal opponents to the legalization of online gambling in America – particularly from figures such as casino tycoon  Sheldon Adelson – but the pendulum seems to be slowly swinging towards legalization.

States such as Michigan and New Jersey have recently legalized online casinos and sports betting sites  leading to significant economic boosts.

Online gambling in Maryland is legal in a handful of forms, from online fantasy sports betting, to skill games, and for limited sports events such as greyhound racing. However, widespread legalization is yet to hit the state.

Perhaps rather than debating the opening of more land-based casinos in Maryland, people should perhaps be analyzing the benefits of widespread online gambling legalization such as:

  • Improved Regulation: Legalized online gambling brings many benefits, one of which is the improved systems of regulation. Computer programs have been successfully developed that monitor customer spends and their propensity to fall into problems with gambling. Partnerships with local gambling charities could be set up too, directing problem gamblers to the help they need.
  • Economic boosts: In the United Kingdom, where online gambling is legalized and regulated, remote gambling (including online) accounts for more than a third of its gross gambling yield. A boost of a similar proportion in Maryland would see a significant amount of money entering the area, not just through revenues but through advertising, taxes and more.
  • Job boosts: Online casinos do not need physical premises to operate, therefore there can be many more than just six online casinos. A strong, healthy and competitive online gambling market would bring jobs to the area. And this might come at a critical time for the state. Currently, unemployment rates are rising in Maryland, standing at 4.3% – much higher than neighboring states and higher than the national average. For every casino built in Maryland it could create up to 787 jobs to the state, which would give the 130,227 unemployed people in the area access to jobs and stability.

Where has online gambling had a positive effect?

New Jersey and Michigan are micro examples of how online gambling benefits local economies. The best example however is the United Kingdom, a country that has legalized all forms of online gambling.

Sports betting and online casinos are regularly advertised on terrestrial and satellite TV in the country. This helps to drive the revenues of the gambling industry which amounts to over £15 billion annually – the largest contributor to which is online gambling.

It’s no wonder that players have been heading there in droves. Live casino games and online slots are two of the most popular forms of online gambling in the UK, with a number of betting companies joining the bustling market. Live casino is able to connect players to human dealers in real-time, bringing that immersive, personal experience to the fore.

Slots, on the other hand, are more engaging than ever – and are themed in a variety of niches, from music, to movies and even comic books. Just take a look at this reputable online casino and you’ll find an assortment of online slots that provides something for every type of gamer.

The British government also requires the gambling industry to donate a percentage of their revenues to gambling charities such as Gamble Aware, thus helping to combat the negative social aspects of gambling.

Recent proposals from the government have also led to online companies implementing tougher security controls to monitor and prohibit money laundering – one of the biggest issues with online gambling.

Further to this, all companies monitor their customers’ playing time and spend, allowing them to set limits on themselves and openly see their profit and loss. The UK is the perfect example of a country that has reaped the economic rewards of online gambling while demonstrating players’ responsibility.

It’s time

According to nationwide statistics, Maryland is behind the national average in terms of gambling revenues and the ratio of casinos to population. And yet, opponents to gambling argue that there are too many casinos in the state.

Gambling revenues boost local economies and lower unemployment rates, and online gambling has shown positive economic effects in Michigan, New Jersey and the United Kingdom. With Maryland facing unprecedented challenges in this regard, it might be time for it to start reaping these benefits.

Category: Local News, NEWS, OPINION

About the Author - Stephanie Fahie

Stefanie is a local blogger and social media content marketer from Maryland. She has an unhealthy obsession with puns, sarcasm and caffeinated beverages. She can usually be found on a baseball field!

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