No Tax Increase for Maryland Gaming Venues

by Jim Hall

Thomas Mike Miller Jr.A rumored tax increase will not take place in Maryland, as Senate Presidents puts such rumors to bed.

Taxes are never fun to pay and business owners know all too well about paying money to do business. In the gaming industry, casinos pay a set amount in taxes in order to provide gaming options such as blackjack and slot games. The tax rate varies depending on the state with some on the lower end at around 15% while others might pay 50% or more. The tax rate is a big deal to gaming operators so when rumors began to spread in Maryland that the tax would go up, operators began to feel nervous. However, Senate President Thomas Mike Miller, Jr. has put such rumors to bed, making operators feel better on the matter.

No New Taxes

Senate President Miller was said to have assured owners of casinos in the state that no more taxes will be created. Miller spoke during the Annapolis Summit which was hosted by Marc Steiner, a local radio personality. Miller made a statement after he was asked by Paul Gellar, the President of the Montgomery County Council of PTAs regarding how he felt the state was being short-changed by owners of gaming venues.

Miller pointed out that the belief of Gellar was not correct as the casinos in the state already pay 40% of their earnings via taxes. The contribution goes towards the Education Trust Fund of the state. To further back the efforts of gaming venues to support Maryland, Miller stated that the Maryland Lottery and Gaming group reported that 15% of funds from table games go to the Education Trust Fund while 5% is used to help with local impact grants.

The percentage paid on the slot gaming revenues will vary based on the facility. The Senate President also pointed out that the taxes that are paid by the casinos of the state are higher than the tax rate in other areas of the nation, particularly Las Vegas. Sin City venues pay only 8% in regards to taxes on revenues.

Miller stated that the state has the highest tax rate of anywhere in the United States and they put more money into Gamblers Anonymous than any other state. The industries pay a very high tax, with an industry that is very competitive and the state is fortunate to have that. The Senate President went on to state the legislature will not be able to increase the tax rate and the state will not lower the rate even though casino owners want to see the rate dropped due to the high job rate of which they played a part in creating.

Maryland is Doing Well

In regards to casino gaming, the state of Maryland is doing quite well. The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Agency just released the recent gaming figures for December 2016 which showed that the six facilities of the state earned just under $133 million for the month. This was far more than the $104.4 million record set back in May of last year, when only five gaming venues were in operation.

In December, the MGM National Harbor opened and added to the figures, with 24 days open in the month. The new gaming venue has been a complete success, creating new employment as well as bringing additional entertainment to the state. Being open for less than one month saw tens of millions created in earnings due to high visitor volume.

For now, casino operators do not have to worry about higher tax rates and we all will be watching to see if the state continues to break records by earning even more revenues each and every month as 2017 moves forward.