Perryville casino asking state to take back 400-500 slot machines, citing lost business

Hollywood Casino in Perryville

Hollywood Casino in Perryville

By Len Lazarick

The manager of the Hollywood Casino in Perryville is asking the state to take back 400 to 500 video lottery terminals, saying it has lost 40% of its business since Maryland Live! opened in June at Arundel Mills.

In a letter to state and local elected officials on Friday, Bill Hayles, vice president and general manager of the first slots casino to open in Maryland, said, “We are making this adjustment now in response to the impact of Maryland Live! as well as in anticipation of Baltimore’s opening as we expect that Baltimore will have an even greater impact on Perryville’s revenues than Anne Arundel has thus far.”

Hayles said the Cecil County facility, built and owned by Penn National Gaming, is generating far less money than the state estimated in 2008, and he believes the current loss of business could snowball into even further loss of customer traffic.

Empty slot machines at Hollywood Casino

“A cursory look around the Perryville floor quickly reveals underutilized and empty machines,” Hayles said. “In a business that depends on energy and customer perception, this perception can be contagious and quickly become reality. Simply put, the higher the slot occupancy, the more appealing the facility, which in turn leads to a more positive customer experience. The perception of a vibrant facility is mutually beneficial because it encourages return visits.”

The letter was sent to state legislators who represent Cecil County, as well as Cecil County commissioners and the mayor of Perryville.

The letter makes no mention of Penn National’s opposition to a sixth casino in Prince George’s County, but the release of the letter to was clearly intended to show the impact of any new competitor on Maryland’s existing casinos.

The pullback at Hollywood Casino came as no surprise to one of the letter’s recipients, Sen. Nancy Jacobs, R-Harford-Cecil.

“Expanding to a sixth casino at this time could hurt the ones that are already built or on the drawing board,” Jacobs said in an email. “Voters approved five, and two of them aren’t even up yet and are struggling to get capital funding.  While we have some data on how the first three are doing, it’s just too early. The expansion could result in harm to the already approved casinos if we change the game when the players who’ve made big private investments are already on the field.”

Cordish Cos., owner and operator of Maryland Live!, has been the most visible opponent of a sixth casino. But Penn National would like to build a casino at Rosecroft Raceway in Prince George’s County, and has been adamantly opposed to awarding  a casino to National Harbor and MGM Entertainment, as it made clear in a July 24 conference call with stock analysts, first reported by The Washington Post.

Penn National disgusted with “sleazy process,” “backroom deal”

“I think it’s safe to say that we have viewed the process from the very beginning as just a sleazy process that has unfolded in Maryland,” said Eric Schippers, senior vice president of public affairs for Penn National. “As the owners of Rosecroft, we represent the long-term solution for the revitalization of racing in that state.”

“We have made the argument that slots at the racetrack is really the only way to save many thousands of agricultural jobs and everybody that benefits from the racing industry, and yet, we have been on the outside looking in throughout this process due to what can only be described as a backroom deal between National Harbor and the county executive,” Schippers went on. “And now shockingly, the governor is the one who is doing a full-court press to try to bring about a deal that by anybody’s measure is a sole-source contract for National Harbor. So hopefully, that captures just the level of disgust we have with this process that has unfolded.

“And we’re going to continue to fight it, because we think it’s an unfair process. And even if they do come out with a competitive bid process, we think it’ll be less than competitive. It’s already been handicapped for the other guys. And we’re going to continue to fight to try to prevent the special session, and then ultimately, if it gets to the ballot, we have no choice but to fight it, given our level of investment at Rosecroft.”

Gov. Martin O’Malley announced the special session two days after this conference call and set it to start this Thursday.

(Special thanks to Kush Arora Attorney at Law)


About The Author

Len Lazarick

Len Lazarick was the founding editor and publisher of and is currently the president of its nonprofit corporation and chairman of its board He was formerly the State House bureau chief of the daily Baltimore Examiner from its start in April 2006 to its demise in February 2009. He was a copy editor on the national desk of the Washington Post for eight years before that, and has spent decades covering Maryland politics and government.


  1. Dale McNamee

    I wonder how many EBT cards will be used at the proposed Caesar’s casino in Baltimore City ?

  2. Bob Higginbotham

    I guess all that money the inept governor and his clowns promised for “the children” isn’t going to happen. The complete turmoil of the casino fiasco comes as no surprise to anyone with a brain (democrats excluded). O’Malley, Busch and Miller have completely messed things up and now want to further agitate the turmoil by giving the undeserving operators more money and adding another casino to the glut. The people that put these clowns in office should hang their heads in shame. Rather than that they will probably reelect them or another group of incompetents with a “D” behind their names. 

    • Dale McNamee

         I couldn’t agree more with you ! As for re-electing these “parasites”…What do you expect from an infantilized, poorly educated ( that includes college ), easily propagandized “takers” and moochers to do ?

         They can’t help it…They’re Democrats !

  3. amdactivist

    VOTER FRAUD EXISTS. PEOPLE ARE VOTING MULTIPLE TIMES. DECEASED ARE STILL ON THE ROLLS. MANY ON VOTER ROLLS HAVE SEVERAL VR’S..>VOTER REGISTRATION NUMBERS..EVER WONDER WHY THE SAME OLE CORRUPT BIG SPENDERS STILL ELECTED?  EXPOSE THE FRAUD.. http://WWW.TRUETHEVOTE.ORG.. ANOTHER GOOD STORY BELOW.. and the picture is one of many Casa de Md’s day labor camps where they connect *illegals by their own admission* with employers for jobs.. Most cash jobs.. all of it illegal and yes it happens.. notice the sign in spanish.. “register to vote here”.. Illegals are voting.. this is why md is now a sanctuary state and invites them all to stay with jobs, welfare and benefits and a voters card.

  4. Jack Frazier Maryland

    Ya gotta lot who omalley’s giving the jobs too.. and its not our citizens..

  5. abby_adams

    This news couldn’t come at a more opertune moment. Need I say…told you so. The braintrust leading our state continues to demonstrate their inept handling of casino gambling along with most issues. This “morallyl corrupt” (Mayor O’Malley’s definition) gambling expansion has become a running joke that isn’t funny since it is OUR TAX DOLLARS these clowns continue to waste. As for O’Malley’s “special session” that wouldn’t be called IF he didn’t have the support of the greedy buggers ruling this state despite his pious attitude about leaving the decision up to our august leaders.

    As long as MD remains a one party state, the corrupt-o-crats will continue to bleed taxpayers dry.

  6. Whcampbell

    If this isn’t a wake up call for our befuddled State political leaders than I don’t know what is.  There are financial and physical limits to every business, and gambling is not immune from the laws of economics.  Build the 5 approved slot parlors.  Put table games on the November balot.  Do not legalize internet gambling.  And wait to see what the appetite for gambling really is.  When governments treat their residents as sources of revenue rather than citizens to serve nothing good can result!

  7. Dale McNamee

    I wish that I could call this amusing, but it isn’t… It’s beyond farcical…And this is the government we get and deserve when these “creatures” are returned to office again & again !

    As for the “special session”…MOM and the legislature should not get paid for this charade…IN FACT, they should pay for it ! They are paid too well for what they do !

    I wonder if the fact that people are losing jobs and the effects of price inflation were considered…That would be too much and too hard for the legislature !

    • abby_adams

      Where is the demonstrated need for casino expansion or internet gambling? Perryville should be a red flag to any legislator that is even considering voting the party line on the MOB (Miller, O’Malley & Busch) plan. Unless we begin to flood the state house with complaints these legislators won’t get the message. They mishandled the original slots referrendum ignoring the expansion going on all around us, now they smell lots of $$ just waiting out side their greedy reach. You have to smell something rotten in a system where jurisdictions are willing to tax plastic shopping bags or plastic soda bottles yet give tax breaks to casino owners. MD residents are the ATM for the bloated, corrupt regime in Annapolis.

      • Dale McNamee


          The Maryland Serfs, er, I mean taxpayers, will always be the legislature’s ATM because they keep on delivering the state to the Democrats because the Democrats are ” for the little man ” ( a lie ). their parents are/were Democrats, and they are apathetic and easily distracted…

        Ooooh, look !  There’s the Ulympics, the Orioles, THE RAVENS ! Look at the “jinglies & sparklies ” !

        Don’t pay attention to what the Legislature & Governor are doing…

        Re-electing these “creatures” time and time again and expecting something different is the sign of insanity and stupidity….

  8. Bob Higginbotham

    Wanting to return 400 to 500 machines to the state means we own those machines, we paid for those machines as well as the ones in AA county and every other slots parlor in the state. So O’Malley wants to give the operators a bigger piece of the action while wasting our money on machines. With all this BS about money for education, etc. we, the citizens of Maryland, are getting hosed by the governor and the operators. You who automatically vote democrat because your parents and their parents did might want to start thinking on your own before the dems in Maryland bleed you completely dry.    

    • warpmine

       “You who automatically vote democrat because your parents and their
      parents did might want to start thinking on your own before the dems in
      Maryland bleed you completely dry.”   
      Yeah, tight!

  9. Hsinclairjr

    here we go again???   it took years for the DEMS to get slots in md, now they want to put them on every street corner???? 

    enouth is enouth???

    they had to waste their time on what is the definetion of “MARRIAGE”,  and did not have the time to roll-up their sleeves to fix the really serious problems????  

    now, MOM, wants to waste more money with a special session.  again, this just does not pass the common sense test???

    it does not take a “rocket expert” to figure out, that if perryville is losing money since md live opened, what would happen when the cansino opens in baltimore, no less an other one in pg cty????

    does MOM, not have anything else to do improve the state, and make it more better???

    i’m so glad to have departed aa cty and the state!!!



    • warpmine

       Perhaps, MOM could propose that slot machines be placed in gay marriage parlors since most of them have plenty of disposable income to waste on entertainment. Regular families have little left when providing food and clothing for the children.

      As far as wasting time on queer marriage, I noticed that as well, financial problems be damned, queers have to get their needed fuax marriage.

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