Slot machines could be coming to Baltimore/Washington Airport soon. That is if a bill filed in the Maryland House of Delegates progresses.
Maryland State delegates Ric Metzgar ( R- Essex ) and Susan Kerbs ( R-Sykesville ) have filed House Bills no. 733 which would allow more than 3,000 gambling machines at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI).
According to Metzgar, it’s one way of generating extra revenue for the state. In an interview with WBAL-TV, the District 6 delegate said:
“Delayed flights, people are still at the airport hanging out, nothing to do, this is a captive audience, and it’s an opportunity for us to get outside money.”
A hearing on HB 733 will be held on February 23rd at the state’s House Ways and Means Committee.
This is not the first time that Maryland lawmakers have proposed adding slot machines at the airport. According to documents from the Maryland General Assembly, legislators offered a similar bill in 2009 but it did not succeed. During the previous decades, similar measures were proposed but also did not progress.
22nd Busiest Airport in the U.S.
The BWI is the largest of three airports serving th Washington area. It is located between two major cities, as it is 10 miles south of Baltimore and 25 miles north of DC. According to public records, a total of 13.3 million passengers boarded a plane there in 2019, giving it the 22nd heaviest traffic among all United States Airports.
Like the Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas, it serves as an operations base for Southwest Airlines. However, while it’s not a question that BWI is a very busy facility with a huge earning potential, space limitations are expected to accommodate an estimated 1,000 slot machines only.
Not the First Airport With Slots
If successful, BWI will not be the first airport in the United States to offer slot machines to passengers waiting for their flights. In Las Vegas, the aforementioned Harry Reid (formerly known as McCarran International), has around 1,400 slot machines installed. Meanwhile, the Reno-Tahoe Airport has about 250 slot machines in its vicinity.
Meanwhile, the City of Chicago has included the option of operating slot machines at O’Hare International and Midway airports to the winning bidder of the casino project in the city. Currently, the Windy City is reviewing five proposals although it remains to be seen if the winning bidder will take up the option of putting up slot machines at airports.