Q: Speaking of slot machines, there was some controversy over the cost of the equipment. It was widely reported the state paid $46,542 per slot machine. Could you clarify the issue?
A: It's not an accurate reflection of the cost of the machines. We were able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the [Maryland] Board of Public Works that the cost of the machines was consistent with what private casino operators in other states were paying for the newest technology.
But what's included in the cost is maintenance over a five-year period. Over the next five years, what was being included … was the cost of the machines and five years of daily maintenance on these machines, including provisions that are required in state law such as making manufacturers pay for lost revenue if a machine is down for an extended period of time and making sure the machine manufacturers were responsible if there is a machine not working. They need to have someone in the facility within 90 minutes.
In the first year, we could require a slots machine manufacturer to change the theme of a game if it is not meeting revenue projections.
Q: So how much did the machines cost?
A: In the case of Hollywood in Cecil County, we bought from six manufacturers. The actual cost of the machines ranged from $18,000 to $25,000. For Ocean Downs, it ranged from $17,200 to $22,600.
Q: What is the latest update for the casino at Ocean Downs in the Eastern Shore?
A: We remain hopeful the facility will open by the end of the year. They have a very aggressive construction schedule and that schedule doesn't have much forgiveness in it, caused by weather and other issues.
If it gets behind, it may be hard to meet an end-of-December opening date. We're working with them to make sure all the pieces are in place to open as quickly as possible.
Q: How is the state's lottery program faring?
A: We're proud of the fact that for the 13th straight [fiscal] year, we hit another sales record of $1.7 billion. That's a new sales record for the lottery.
Prizes to players were over $1 billion for the second time in the history of the lottery.
In fiscal year 2010, the lottery sent $510 million to the state. That's the second highest in the history of the Maryland Lottery.