Board of Public Works Approves $50 Million Contract For Slot Machines

On Wednesday the Maryland Board of Public Works approved a $50 million contract to purchase 1000 slot machines for the planned Hollywood Casino Perryville located in Cecil County. As noted in the deal, the average ticket price of a lottery terminal is $46, 542, an estimate that industry analysts claim is significantly higher than what an individual machine should cost. Comptroller Peter Franchot stated that it is”an incredible windfall for the industry.”  The Baltimore Sun reports:

In April, the board gave preliminary approval to spend $600 million over the next five years to buy slot machines. The contract approved Wednesday, which authorizes the purchase of 1,068 machines divided among the six manufacturers, marks the first installment on that plan.

A state lottery spokeswoman said the average cost of machines is typically between $19,000 and $21,000. Spokeswoman Carol Everett stressed that the average from Wednesday’s is skewed because some more complicated machines cost significantly more.

Shuffle Master terminals cost taxpayers $116,000 per machine, according to details provided by the state lottery. On the low end are KGM machines, which cost $24,000 per machine.

Some manufacturers have spent a lot of money lobbying Annapolis over the past decade. IGT, which was the biggest winner Wednesday with $20 million in sales from the contract, has spent $800,000 lobbying key lawmakers. Spielo, which got $9 million, spent $87,000 on lobbyists.

The state is not done shopping: The casino will need another 438 machines to be fully operational. The lottery agency will seek approval for those machines this month, director Stephen Martino said. At the rate of $46,000 per machine, that would cost another $20 million.

Martino expects the state to purchase machines for the Ocean City casino over the summer. The state has authorized 2,500 machines for Worcester County, but plans for Ocean Downs call for only 1,500.

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