The Maryland state lottery produced a record $392 million in revenues during the last fiscal year. That's $27 million more than needed to balance the state's budget, and only about $500,000 short of what was needed for debt service on Baltimore's two pro sports stadiums. But like the state lawmakers who oversee the lottery, we'll hold off on any celebration for awhile.
Buddy Roogaw, the state lottery director appointed last October, is optimistic about continued growth. We might be too if it weren't for a few "wild cards" in this deck They include:
- Slot machines. The pressure to legalize them to help out the state's horse tracks is growing, with even state leaders like Attorney General Joe Curran, a staunch foe of slots, conceded last month that the pressure put on by other states' authorization of the one-armed bandits would probably lead to their approval in Maryland.
Where will slot-machine play leave the lottery? It's anybody's guess at this point.