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State of Maryland Wants out of Slots Business

Posted by Samantha A. on Tuesday, February 28, 2017

After close to a decade of losing money, Maryland wants to get out of the business of slot machines.

The state of Maryland has actually reaped billions from gambling that is legalized, but the slot machine cost them up to 30 thousand dollars a pop, and add another 2 thousand dollars a year on top of that in maintenance cost.

The expense actually far exceeded what the policymakers planned when the gambling program first started, they have been slowly making deals with owners of the casino’s in order to transfer the ownership of these slot machines in exchange the casino’s would receive tax breaks.

Four out of the six largest casino now are the owners of the slot machines that they house.  The state of Maryland pays out a total of 14 million dollars in order to provide Ocean Downs Casino and Rocky Gap Resort and Casino with slot machines. 

The legislation that is pending before the General Assembly would give the last two casinos a total of a 10% tax break if they do agree to purchase the slot machines before the beginning of 2018.  This deal would cost the Education Trust Fund approximately 10 million dollars per year.  The state of Maryland would also be liable for paying a 1.6 million dollar penalty for breaking the contract that they made with the slot machine companies a whole 2 years early.

If these two casinos do not purchase the slot machines by the year 2020, they would ultimately be forced to purchase them and only receive a 6% tax break instead of the 10% that has been offered. At this time the county receives an 8% tax break for the ownership of the slot machines.

This legislation is currently pending before committees within the House of Delegates as well as the Senate.  At this point it has not faced any vocal opposition.

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