Maryland Passes Legislation For Feasibility Study Of VLTs At BWI Airport

Maryland looks poised to expand the number of video lottery terminals (VLTs) available in the state. The increase would come at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI).

The Maryland House of Representatives passed House Bill 1252 in the 2024 legislative session, requiring a feasibility study of the state authorizing a VLT operation license at BWI Airport. It would pave the way for Maryland to increase its overall lottery revenue alongside instant win games and other popular options.

HB 1252 requires the Maryland Aviation Administration (MAA) to conduct the study and consult with the State Lottery and Gaming Control Commission (SLGCC).

The bill takes effect on July 1, the start of fiscal year 2025. It requires the MAA to report its findings by Oct. 1.

What’s needed for VLT expansion at BWI

Current law already allows for VLTs in five Maryland counties and Baltimore City, the homes of Maryland’s six casinos. Anne Arundel County is one (Maryland Live! Casino), which includes BWI Airport.

The law permits up to 16,500 VLTs statewide. Maryland casinos account for approximately 9,700, leaving plenty of space for expansion.

But more steps lie between here and installing VLTs at BWI. The feasibility study is next, and it will assess numerous areas for their impacts, including economic, financial, and environmental considerations. 

Based on the findings, we’ll know what other action the state will need to take.

Video lottery terminal study would come at minimal cost

The MAA told the state that, due to the size of its team, it could not conduct the study within the provided time constraints. To finish by Oct. 1, the MAA said it needs to hire a consultant to head the study.

The state estimates this hiring to be a one-time cost of $100,000, which is absorbed in the FY 2025 budget. The MAA cited that similar studies have recently cost between $50,000 and $300,000 in consulting fees.

A five-year outlook shows no additional expenditures and estimates VLT revenues to grow by 5% through FY 2029, nearing $1.4 billion annually. Including table games, the state expects gross gaming revenue to transcend $2 billion by FY 2027 and continue growing year over year throughout the decade.

Maryland iLottery on hold; online casinos still possible in 2024

The Old Line State experienced a 4% year-over-year increase in lottery sales in March, fueled by huge jackpots in two lottery draw games, Mega Millions and Powerball. Still, sales are down 1.8% for FY 2024.

Despite the decrease in numbers, the state legislature opted to table its discussion around Maryland joining the ranks of states with online lotteries. House Bill 1218, which would have legalized online lottery sales, failed to reach the floor for a vote by its March 18 deadline. 

That said, Maryland online casinos could become legal this year after the House passed the bill by a vote of 92-43. 

State legislators project that online casinos could bring in more than $900 million annually for the state. While a Maryland iLottery wouldn’t generate those earnings, a successful iGaming venture would strengthen the case for online lottery to follow suit next year.

 

Photo by Dogora Sun via Shutterstock
Graphic from the Maryland Lottery

About the Author

Hill Kerby

Hill Kerby

Hill Kerby has been writing about the online and retail lottery industry in the US since 2021. He is a contributor to multiple Catena Media sites and has a background in poker, sports and psychology which he incorporates into his writing. You can email him at [email protected].
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