πŸ’ Maryland casinos allowed to boost their advantage by lowering blackjack payouts - Baltimore Sun

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The process eliminates "unnecessary steps," said Charles LaBoy, the state agency's managing director of gaming. The casino still offers tables. What we're trying to do is make sure the casinos have enough flexibility to manage their offerings on the floor. Rob Norton, president of Maryland Live, noted that while the casino retains its advantage on the blackjack tables, it's a "better deal" for the player. Lower-payout tables wouldn't be a good fit at Hollywood Casino Perryville because "as a smaller casino with a population that comes in on a daily basis, you would be alienating more folks than not," said general manager Matthew Heiskell. Most Read on Baltimore Sun. Horseshoe also has incorporated payout tables on its casino floor. Maryland Live and Hollywood Casino Perryville officials said they aren't going with lower payouts that their regulars might shun. Before, any changes would have been subject to legislative review or public comment periods, a process that usually took months. Casinos make much of their money because of a built-in advantage tied to the odds. Last year, regulators reduced the required average annual payouts to players from slot machines and approved a request from casinos to allow blackjack dealers to draw a card on a hand known as a "soft In blackjack, players try to score higher than the dealer without going over Until the rule was changed, dealers at Maryland casinos had to stand pat on all 17s. Most casual gamblers won't notice the difference , said James Karmel, a casino analyst and history professor at Harford Community College. MGM National Harbor boosted the casino's advantage at those tables under a new regulatory regime that gives Maryland casinos more flexibility to determine their own rules governing such things as payouts and wagers for blackjack, roulette, poker and other table games. Karmel, the casino analyst, said Maryland has grown increasingly sophisticated over the years at helping the industry succeed. Half of the state's six casinos β€” Maryland Live, Rocky Gap and Hollywood Casino Perryville β€” say they still exclusively offer the higher payouts. The payouts are displayed along with the minimum bet at each table. The state has taken other steps in recent years to provide casinos the regulatory leeway to increase their house advantage. Until recently, all of the casinos paid players for a blackjack, the best possible hand. What you need to know as Maryland moves into Phase 2 of coronavirus recovery.{/INSERTKEYS}{/PARAGRAPH} Slot machine payouts are an example, Gentry said. Jake Rosenberg, 26, a Washington-area blackjack player who visited MGM twice the week it opened, said he refused to even sit down at a table with the lower, payouts for a blackjack β€” when a player hits 21 with an ace and a 10 or face card. While the average annual payout for machines on a casino floor must be at least 87 percent, she said the latest quarterly floor average was about 4 percent over that minimum β€” at 91 percent β€” because casinos don't want to alienate guests with tight machines. The state said it had no estimate on how the payout would affect casino revenue. Coronavirus What can reopen? State officials said regulations to safeguard the security and integrity of casino games remain intact, and any changes are subject to the more rigorous review. Business 1. {PARAGRAPH}{INSERTKEYS}Some gamblers who streamed to the gleaming new MGM National Harbor casino and resort, which opened this month to capacity crowds, left frustrated. Recommended on Baltimore Sun. The payout adds about 1. The combined revenue of Maryland's five casinos was up 7. Ocean Downs, Maryland's sixth casino, does not have table games. The Evening Sun Newsletter. Table game rules used to be set in regulations, but the commission repealed most of them earlier this year. Outside of Las Vegas, there are relatively few tables, said Tom Hyland, a longtime professional blackjack player from New Jersey. Get your evening news in your e-mail inbox. He said casinos typically offer the lower payouts on tables with the lowest minimum bets. While casinos may have more options for game rules, gaming control agency spokeswoman Carole Gentry dismissed the notion that Maryland casinos have become less player-friendly. The agency said it wants to provide casinos with "tools to react to changes in the market. But regular players balk at any effort to shift odds or payouts in the casino's favor. The new rule-making process for table games was proposed by the agency's staff and had the support of casinos. Some casinos said they wouldn't tweak the blackjack rules because they fear losing customers. To ease the impact of MGM's arrival, he noted, Maryland reduced the state tax on slot machines at rival casinos to make up for the anticipated loss of market share. Also, average annual payouts for slot machines are still set in Maryland regulations. Gordon Medenica, director of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency, projects that the arrival of MGM β€” expected to draw many gamblers from Virginia across the Potomac River β€” will mean hundreds of millions of dollars more in state tax revenue in the casino's first full year. Maryland regulators say they want to help casinos succeed while ensuring the games are fair to players. Skip to content. MGM National Harbor drew about , people in its first week, the resort told regulators. Each state with legalized gambling establishes its own regulatory framework, and the myriad rules for each table game β€” which can shift the odds and the advantage in favor of the player or casino β€” vary across the country. I truly believe it should be uniform. Adding the payout option was among the first changes made under the new rule-making procedure. You are now following this newsletter. Kasey Thomas, a tables games dealer, uses a continuous shuffling machine, which speeds up blackjack games and makes it impossible for card counters to keep track of cards. Get all the top news and sports from the baltimoresun. See all newsletters. State officials and casino executives said the new regulatory process cuts down on bureaucratic red tape and gives the casinos leeway to offer a wider range of products β€” the reduced payoffs are typically at tables with lower minimum bets that appeal to the more frugal gambler. Maryland's blackjack rules had been considered player-friendly. Now casinos have the option β€” although they don't all use it β€” of "hitting" on a soft 17, which is a hand adding up to 17 including an ace, which can be counted as a 1 or an The rule change came after casinos told the state the shift would "increase the house advantage, which will increase revenue, tax dollars and make us comparable with other markets," according to a memorandum obtained by The Baltimore Sun through a Maryland Public Information Act request. Casinos are now required to adopt "standard rules" for table games, and any changes only need approval from the agency's staff. Latest Business.