Lawmakers consider covering casino revenue losses to boost education funding –

By Glynis Kazanjian


Maryland lawmakers want to place a bet on Maryland casinos.

If they change the law to ensure casinos aren’t taxed on losses, casinos say they will be able to bring in high stakes gamblers that would result in increased state revenues. They would also be able to make up for any lost revenue.

The problem, at least initially, is that revenues for casinos would increase by an estimated $800,000 in the first year and the state’s Education Trust Fund would decrease by an estimated $150,000. Local revenues would suffer too, dropping $50,000, state fiscal analysts say.

In effect, the state would be covering any losses casinos incur from their table games revenues.

“It allows the casinos to cover their losses out of the Education Trust Fund,” Del. David Moon, D-Montgomery, argued on the House floor Tuesday.

Under current law, Maryland’s six casino operators keep 80% of their table game revenues, 15% goes to the state’s Education Trust Fund and 5% goes to local jurisdictions. But when a casino loses money on any given day of the year, and it has been unable to recoup those loses over two consecutive days, it must still pay the 20% of the lost revenues.

Recouping losses with high rollers

The amended legislation, HB1171, proposed by House Ways and Means Chair Anne Kaiser, D-Montgomery and Del. Jay Walker, D-Prince George’s County, would change the number of days a casino has to recoup lost gambling revenues from two days to seven.

The bill was tentatively approved by the House Tuesday.

The Department of Legislative Services (DLS), the legislature’s research arm, estimates any period of time over two days reduces the loss risk for casinos by 98%.

“It is the intention if we extend the number of days then the casinos will

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