CASINO

Maryland casinos August gains; MGM baccarat dealer conspiracy

TAGs: Maryland, national harbor

mgm-national-harbor-maryland-casino-baccarat-dealer-conspiracyMaryland’s six casinos reported an overall modest gaming revenue increase in August, while the state’s biggest casino dealt with a case of insider cheating.

Figures released by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Agency showed the state’s casino operators generated combined gaming revenue of $146.3m in August, a 6.4% improvement over the same month last year, although a minor reduction from July 2018’s $146.5m.

Five of the six casinos reported year-on-year revenue gains, with the biggest gain coming via Ocean Downs Casino, which shot up 19% to $8.27m thanks to last December’s addition of the properties first table games. Ocean Downs’ 18 tables contributed over $912k to August’s result.

August’s lone decliner was Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, which reported gaming revenue falling 3.7% year-on-year to $21m. The Horseshoe is a joint operation of Caesars Entertainment and JACK Entertainment, and the latter entity was recently rumored to be putting its casino operations up for sale.

As for the rest of the field, MGM Resorts’ National Harbor maintained its usual spot atop the revenue chart with $58.3m (+10.3%), followed by Cordish Gaming’s Live! Casino & Hotel’s $47m (+5.1%), while Hollywood Casino Perryville ($6.6m, +5.2%) and Rocky Gap ($5m, +4.9%) brought up the rear.

National Harbor made headlines for all the wrong reasons this week as word broke that federal prosecutors had charged a former baccarat dealer with involvement in a cheating conspiracy dating back to September 2017. The local NBC affiliate identified the dealer as Ming Zhang, who is facing a charge of conspiracy to transport stolen funds.

According to the report, Zhang exposed a portion of his deck of cards to at least one co-conspirator, who took a photograph of the exposed cards. Zhang failed to shuffle the cards, allowing his co-conspirator to make large bets based on his advance knowledge of what cards would be dealt next.

Zhang was due to appear in US District Court on Tuesday. The documents charging Zhang state that he is believed to have had other scamming partners.

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