Maryland Casinos Put a Hurt on West Virginia Properties
The state of Maryland is one that has received a lot of focus in terms of its gambling industry in the last year or so, partly because it is one of many states along the eastern seaboard of the United States participating in something of a casino expansion race, and in part due to the fact that it is well-situated in close proximity to several large urban areas, among them the nation’s capitol, Washington D.C.
Today we will focus on two gambling-related stories coming out of Maryland.
First, we will take a look at the impact Maryland’s casino industry is having on the nearby state of West Virginia.
Then we will switch course and examine efforts on the part of land-based casino properties in Maryland, specifically the relatively new Maryland Live! property, to lure in Asian gamblers.
West Virginia feeling the heat from nearby states
The Hollywood Casino in Charles Town, West Virginia, is being held up by the Washington Post as an example of just how badly casinos in the state are struggling in the face of increased competition for gambling dollars in the eastern region of the United States.
Revenue at the property, which has been open since 1997, remained relatively stable until Maryland Live!, a wildly successful casino located in Arundel Mills, Maryland, first opened its doors in 2012. Last year, Maryland Live! began to offer table gaming, and now the Charles Town casino is reporting that revenue is down by 34 percent.
And while Maryland is certainly putting a major hurt on the West Virginia gambling economy, so too are other neighboring states.
One lawmaker in the state of West Virginia has put forward the idea of adding another casino, a common “fix” proposed when one state is poaching gambling revenue for another. This solution is often opposed by casino industry experts – and many times by the existing casinos themselves – with some pointing out that adding more casinos does not mean new gamblers will come, only that the existing pool of gamblers further spreads out.
Casinos in Maryland work to attract more Asian clientele
Meanwhile, Maryland Live! appears committed to maintaining its supremacy in the region.
While the Washington Post noted that the Hollywood Casino in Charles Town, West Virginia is a much further drive from Washington D.C. than is the newer Maryland Live! property, Maryland Live! is focusing its attention on bringing in more Asian patrons, this according to a recent article in the Baltimore Sun.
The introduction of table games brought with it an influx of Asian customers, and now the casino is working to tailor its non-gambling amenities to suit that segment of its customer base.
Among one of the biggest draws for the Asian gambler? Baccarat.
Remarked Rob Norton, who is the president and general manager of Maryland Live!,”We had it as part of our plans to integrate with the Asian community, among others, when we first opened. But the introduction of live-action baccarat has definitely increased the level of interest.”
Baccarat is a game that has long appealed to the Asian segment of the market. In fact, the game is credited with propping up the casino revenue numbers in the Nevada, with baccarat proving to be one of the biggest draws in terms of table games along the famous Las Vegas Strip.
The game is somewhat based in pure luck, which appeals to Asian gamblers, said president of the Maryland Center for Foreign Investment, Lawrence Chang.
“I think it’s cultural. Gambling is really big in Asian countries. For Chinese and Vietnamese in particular, I think it’s a way of testing their luck, their superstitions,” Chang was quoted as saying.
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