Layoffs at Charles Town casino linked to competition from Maryland

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia Lottery Director John Musgrave said Thursday the layoffs at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races in Jefferson County are directly related to gambling competition from Maryland.

“These layoffs of these dealers were directly, I think, from more competition than from the economy,” Musgrave told MetroNews.

The casino confirmed less than 50 workers were being let go. Musgrave said Hollywood Casino was taking a few of its table games tables off line.

“To see Charles Town have to eliminate some tables and layoff some dealers is quite concerning to us,” Musgrave said.

Hollywood Casino makes more on table games than the other four casinos in West Virginia combined. But the operation has taken a hit from Maryland Live! which opened in nearby Anne Arundel County 2 years ago. Hollywood’s revenues have gone down 15 to 17 percent.

Musgrave said there will be more competition soon for Charles Town and the other casinos in West Virginia.

“There’s still a number of facilities in Ohio yet to open and we have 2 major facilities in Maryland that will open in the next couple of years,” he said.

The state budget heavily leans on gambling revenues but those revenues will continue to decline into the future according to Musgrave.

Thus far this fiscal year revenues for table games are down nearly $4 million from last year. Numbers released Thursday by the state Lottery also showed Racetrack Video Lottery down $20 million so far this fiscal year and Limited Video Lottery down $6 million. At the end of Sept. 2012 the Lottery reported overall revenues of $343.5 million after the first 3 months of the budget year, this year that’s down to $315.7 million, a $28 million decrease.

Musgrave also said Thursday the Lottery is optimistic about the recent change in ownership at Mountaineer Racetrack and Casino in Chester. The announcement of the merger between MTR Gaming Group and Eldorado Resorts of Reno, Nevada came last month.

“This provides them (Mountaineer) with new capital. They can do some innovative things we think to refresh the property,” the lottery director said.

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