Archive for the ‘Latest News’ Category
Via Baltimore Business Journal
The general manager of the Rocky Gap Casino Resort told me Friday the casino’s core market will be folks living within a 90-minute drive of the casino’s Allegany County location. I spoke with Scott Just the day before Rocky Gap held an open house to show off its 558 slot machines and 10 table games.
The casino is expected to open as early as May 22, pending the successful test of its systems on May 20 by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission.
The 90-minute radius Just is targeting include not only gamblers from Maryland but those as far away as Morgantown, W.Va., Altoona, Pa., and Winchester, W. Va. The closest casino to Rocky Gap currently is in Charles Town, W. Va., which is about 90 minutes from Rocky Gap.
Via Washington Post
Three companies have put in bids to build a Prince George’s County casino, leading to a high-stakes competition to operate what could be one of the most lucrative gambling venues on the East Coast.
On Friday, the deadline for bids, Penn National Gaming proposed a $700 million Hollywood Casino Resort at Rosecroft Raceway, and the owner of a Pennsylvania casino proposed an $800 million Parx Casino Hotel & Spa nearby in Fort Washington.
The two bids will compete with a plan by MGM Resorts to operate Maryland’s sixth casino at National Harbor, the 300-acre mini-city on the Potomac River. The proposal to build that $800 million facility was submitted to the state Thursday.
A Maryland panel is expected to take several months to weigh the proposals and aims to choose one by the end of the year. The new casino could open by 2016.
The race to win Prince George’s County casino contest is officially underway.
Maryland’s Video Lottery Facility Location Commission released a 110-page request for proposals (RFP) on Feb. 6 for construction and operation of a high-end Las Vegas-style casino.
Proposals are due to the commission by May 10, with a pre-proposal conference for potential bidders scheduled for Feb. 27.
The RFP was distributed to 200 individuals, organizations and businesses. However, a Maryland Lottery official said that list includes construction companies, lobbyists, anyone who expressed “any sort of interest” in the project.
An official with MGM Resorts International, which last year joined forces with National Harbor developer The Peterson Companies to develop a destination resort casino at National Harbor, said they have been doing their homework for months.
The chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority, who also headed the group that advised Gov. Martin O’Malley on an expansion of gaming in the state, is among those O’Malley named Friday to a new commission to oversee casino gaming and the Maryland lottery.
John Morton III will be one of seven members of the new State Lottery and Gaming Control Commission. The group was created as part of legislation O’Malley signed earlier this year. The seven-member panel replaces the nine-member State Lottery Agency.
Joining Morton on the panel are:
Maryland’s casino program gathered momentum Tuesday as officials gave the go-ahead for a two-story casino near the Camden Yards stadium complex in Baltimore, even as the developers of a Western Maryland casino were allowed to scale back plans for Rocky Gap.
The state’s Video Lottery Facility Location Commission awarded the license for Baltimore’s casino to an affiliate of Caesars Entertainment, putting the city on track to open a gambling parlor in 2014. The company, CBAC Gaming, plans to operate 3,750 slots on a parcel off Russell Street downtown. It will operate under the name Harrah’s Baltimore.
Problem gamblers embrace tool of personal responsibility
Maryland’s Voluntary Exclusion Program (VEP) hit a milestone this week, registering its 100th participant. Launched in January 2011 to work in conjunction with the state’s casinos, VEP was created to help problem gamblers take control of their lives.
“This is a tool of personal responsibility,” Maryland Lottery Director Stephen Martino said. “It gives individuals the opportunity to control their own behavior – of their own volition. The fact that we have reached 100 participants speaks to its value in curtailing gambling abuses.”
Administered by the Maryland Lottery, the VEP permits individuals with gambling problems to legally ban themselves from entering any Maryland casino. Participants will also be taken off of all casino mailing lists and will not be eligible for promotions, credit or casino comps. Only the individual being banned can sign up for the program. Participants discovered at a casino are subject to arrest for trespassing and must surrender any winnings.
“Self-exclusion allows problem gamblers to use an external support as they work toward making proactive choices about their time and money,” said Joanna Franklin, president of the Maryland Council on Problem Gambling. “This is a valuable service and a responsible way to operate expanded legalized gambling in Maryland.”
Applications for the VEP must be filled out and submitted in person at Maryland Lottery Headquarters or at one of the state’s three casinos, and all information is strictly confidential. Participants may elect to be on the list for life or have the option of a two-year ban after which they must request and meet requirements for removal from the list. The Maryland Lottery makes the final decision as to whether the participant may be removed.
“This is just one of the ways we are working to ensure that players gamble responsibly,” said Jennifer Wetherell, the Lottery’s Responsible Gambling Coordinator. “We also offer a connection to statewide resources through the Maryland Alliance for Responsible Gambling (MARG) and its website, mdgamblinghelp.org.”
A work group looking at expanding gambling in Maryland has not been able to reach a consensus on whether to add a casino in Prince George’s County, dealing a setback to the efforts of pro-gambling forces to win legislative approval this summer.
After the group’s final public meeting was delayed for three hours, the group of lawmakers and advisers to Gov. Martin O’Malley acknowledged that a consensus of the 11 members could not be reached at this time.
Plans for a special General Assembly session to discuss expanding gambling in Maryland appear dead after members of a state work group failed to reach consensus Wednesday.
While a majority of members supported a plan that would have allowed Las Vegas-style table games and added a sixth casino site in Prince George’s County, three state delegates would not support a proposed decrease in the state’s tax rate on slot machines.
A group chosen by Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley met on Monday to hammer out key details of a possible gambling expansion in the state, including how to compensate other casinos if a new competitor is allowed in Prince George’s County, The Washington Post reported.
A new state commission charged with crafting a bill to expand gambling in Maryland will have to overcome a short time frame and skepticism from House lawmakers.
The 11-member Work Group to Consider Gaming Expansion will have until late June to study the possible impact of expanding the state’s slots program to include table games and a sixth casino in Prince George’s County.
If the group sees fit, it will then recommend legislation to be debated by the General Assembly during a special session the week of July 9. Voters would decide any approved legislation’s fate in a November referendum.