Months before its expected opening, the MGM National Harbor Casino in Maryland is scaling back its plans for slot machines. Mgm casino.
The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency, which regulates Maryland casinos, has approved a plan by MGM to trim nearly 10 percent of the number of planned slot machines for the casino floor.
In a memo obtained by the News4 I-Team, state regulators said the change was requested as a response "to present market factors.&rdquo, MGM was given formal permission to hold 3,600 slot machines, or VLTs (video lottery terminals), by Maryland state officials in December 2013.
A powerpoint presentation prepared by casino operators for Maryland regulators said, "MGM requests that its VLT allocation be temporarily adjusted from 3,600 units to a minimum of 3,321 units at opening.&rdquo,
The presentation said by reducing the number of slot machines, the casino expects to actually increase its slot machine revenue. In its presentation, MGM cites the changing nature of slot machines as a key factor.
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"VLTs have continued to evolve since 2013 with new game types and multiple denomination games that allow for increased utilization of VLTs with less machines," the casino said in its presentation to state regulators.
The casino&rsquo,s presentation to state regulators said demand for table games is increasing in Maryland. The casino did not specify if its plans to eventually increase its slate of table games, including blackjack and craps, when the facility opens.
The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency approved the casino&rsquo,s request at a Wednesday meeting, News-4 has learned. The agency said similar requests for slot machine reductions were approved at Maryland Live! and Horseshoe Casino in recent years.
Spokespeople for the casino did not immediately return requests for comment.
In a recent interview with the News-4 I-Team, managers of Rocky Gap Casino in western Maryland described recent, dramatic evolutions in the technology and presentations of slot machines. The machines are increasingly utilizing video imagery and celebrity branding, they said. Rocky Gap officials said they are regularly updating and upgrading their slot machines, while also trying to manage and conserve floor space.
An MGM spokeswoman did not offer specific comment to News-4 about the slot machine changes. The casino said in a statement its planning for the casino floor "reflects our commitment to a high quality guest experience and maximizing tax revenues for the state.&rdquo,
The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Commission said it must approve MGM&rsquo,s final floor plan for the casino before opening. The agency said it expects to review the floor plan in November.