Maryland's four casinos pulled in $65.3 million in revenue for September, a drop from $71 million the month before, the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency reported Monday.
Two of Maryland casinos — Casino at Ocean Downs and Rocky Gap Casino Resort — are in resort areas, which tend to be busier in the summer months, so a decline from August is not surprising, said James Karmel, a casino analyst and history professor at Harford Community College.
"What you are seeing is a fairly level revenue picture … and positive for Maryland," he said.
On a year-over-year basis, the three casinos that have been open for more than 12 months — Hollywood Casino Perryville, Maryland Live Casino and Ocean Downs — saw revenue rise by $19.3 million, or 45 percent, in September.
The bulk of the September revenue — nearly $50.5 million — poured into Maryland Live in Anne Arundel County. The casino, which operates 4,341 slot machines and 174 table games, saw its revenue rise by about $18.5 million, or 57.8 percent, from a year earlier.
Still, the effect of the end of summer tourism and start of school was evident as the casino's revenue slipped nearly 5 percent in September from August's $53 million.
Maryland Live's decline occurred despite September being the first full month of poker gaming there. The casino opened a 52-table poker room near the end of August.
Maryland Live is "the most exciting thing in Mid-Atlantic gaming" since it opened last year, Karmel said.
The casino, though, will face competition for the same players in the Baltimore region in less than a year when Caesars Entertainment Corp. opens its Horseshoe Casino Baltimore in the city, Karmel said.
Meanwhile, Hollywood Casino brought in $6.62 million from slots and table games last month. That was up $625,848, or 10.4 percent, from the year before. The oldest of Maryland casinos, Hollywood operates 1,158 slots and 22 table games.
The Cecil County casino, whose revenue had declined steadily as new competition opened, has seen a reversal of that trend in recent months. September marked the third month in a row that Hollywood's revenue increased over the previous year.
"They have an effective marketing campaign that's playing out," Karmel said.
And Hollywood appears to be convincing Marylanders to stay in state to gamble, rather than cross over into Delaware, he said.
The Casino at Ocean Downs took in $5.09 million last month, a 3.9 percent increase from a year earlier. That's down from $5.97 million in August. The Worcester County casino runs 800 slot machines.
Revenue at Rocky Gap Casino Resort totaled $3.13 million in September, down from $4.01 million in August. The Allegany County casino opened in May, so there is no year-over-year comparison.
Rocky Gap has 558 slot machines and 13 table games, including three poker tables that state officials approved to open last week.