Slot machines often draw a negative perception from the media, even being referred to as the “crack cocaine” of gambling by some UK outlets. But the revenue that states generate from people having fun on the slots does have a positive impact on communities and industries.
Such is the case with Maryland’s horse farming industry, which currently generates over $1.15 billion in economic impact per year – up 23% from the $930 million generated in 2010.
According to the Sage Policy Group, Maryland’s horse farming industry will likely hit $1.5 billion yearly economic impact and support 11,000 full-time jobs with $620 million in annual employee income.
So how are slot machines driving this growth?
The boost is coming from Maryland’s 5 casinos, with a sixth, MGM National Harbor, set to open in December. According to the Baltimore Business Journal, the casinos offer a combined 15,000 slot machines. 7% of the money made from these slots is funneled to purse accounts at state racetracks, in addiction to the Racetrack Facilities Renewal Account, which improves local tracks.
Looking at the numbers, slots funds accounted for $32 million in purses for the 2014 fiscal year, and $7.8 million for the Racetrack Facilities Renewal Account.
Prior to casinos and slot machines being approved, Maryland’s horse farming industry complained that their funds lagged behind other states. Luckily, this isn’t the case any longer.
“The advent of slots programs in West Virginia, Delaware and Pennsylvania had tilted the competitive playing field away from Maryland,” reads Sage Policy’s report. “But industry recovery has begun and appears to be accelerating.”
With all of the heat that slot machines take from the press, it’s nice to see slots revenue doing some definite good. In the case of Maryland, revenue generated from slot machines is being used to grow horse farming and provide more jobs.