When the idea of casino gambling first showed up on the radar in the State of Maryland, a lot of people supported it. But now that Horseshoe Casino is open in Baltimore, and with MGM gearing up to open up its own property in Prince George’s County, residents who sat on the fence of seeing land-based casinos dot the map have finally made up their minds.
While 53% of those surveyed think casinos are good (a number unchanged since 2012), the total number of people who have undecided have dropped. And findings show that they’ve moved over to the “casinos are bad” camp. A staggering 38% say that casinos are bad, which is up 11 points from the 2012 numbers of 27%.
So are Maryland residents really falling out of love with the idea of casino gambling? Maybe not. While more people are viewing casinos are bad, the numbers don’t translate to the online casino world as far as Maryland residents are concerned.
The report runs contrary to what our own internal stats show. Our own internal Palace of Chance records show that Maryland ranks among the top 3 states in America for online casino accounts in terms of players per capita. And in terms of overall players, the state ranks in the top 7 states.
That’s a huge feat considering the population of California, Texas, New York, and Florida far outnumbers Maryland. The state ranks 19th in terms of population with just under 6 million residents (and not all of them are eligible to play online casino games…remember you need to be 21 years of age or older to play at Palace of Chance).
So what’s the deal here? Well, we commissioned an independent survey and discovered that Maryland residents prefer online casinos because they view land-based casino gaming to not be culturally appealing. What happens online in the comforts of your own home doesn’t weigh into the perception someone might have of a community, and many residents associate big “Casino” signs in a neighborhood as cheapening the community.
Most of the participants in our survey didn’t mention increased crime as a concern, so perhaps it’s just perception, or the realization that land-based casinos aren’t community problem solvers and big tax generators that some claim them to be.
One other interest tidbit we learned in our own survey. Those who played at online casinos seem to frequent land-based casinos more often than those who play exclusively at live casinos. This puts the brakes on the argument that Internet casinos are bad for land-based casino business – something that we’ve been saying all along.