October 2, 2010

Maryland's First Slots Casino Opens in Perryville

PERRYVILLE - Maryland's first slots casino informally opened on Monday, and customers have found it rather quickly. Officials with the parent company, Penn National Gaming, said average attendance for the first three days was 7,000 people per day.

Voters in Maryland approved slot casinos nearly two years ago, and the $98 million facility in Perryville is now open with 1,500 machines. Some of those slot machines look suspiciously like table gambling, which is legal and being offered in Delaware and in West Virginia. A roulette slot machine features a spinning electronic wheel and a spinning and bouncing electronic ball. Patrons can sidle-up to what looks like a gaming table for cards and play "three card poker" or blackjack against a virtual dealer on an electronic screen. The cards are displayed on electronic screens on the flat parts of the table.

A smiling Gov. Martin O'Malley told a gathered crowd that the new Maryland casino is there to, "[prevent] dollars that used to fly across the border from leaving. Instead, [those dollars] are staying here." Under the terms of the licensing agreement, 67% of the profit from each slot machine goes to the state, with half that revenue going to an education trust fund.

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