The state of Maryland had three poker rooms that had a total of 85 poker tables between them till the MGM National Harbor casino opened in December 2016 an added another 39 tables to the poker market. The MGM National Harbor poker room has been opened for less than a month in the year ending 2016 but has nevertheless made a significant contribution to the state’s poker revenue.
Maryland’s poker rooms brought in $3 million in revenue during December 2015 and registered revenue of $3.88 million in December 2016. Maryland gaming regulators report that the MGM National Harbor poker room generated $1.4 million in poker revenue during December 2016. The poker room at the MGM National Harbor has a Las Vegas theme to it and poker room manager Johnny Grooms states that it can give patrons a similar feel to that of the Aria casino and also a little of the Bellagio.
The poker room has focused on poker players in Maryland as well as the poker market in other states where there is limited poker action. There have been long waiting lists at the poker room with as many as 150 players waiting on $1-$3 no-limit hold’em cash gamed. The MGM National Harbor poker room has been able to attract poker players as far as North Carolina and Grooms reports that the room has been at full capacity or close to full capacity almost every day.
In a statement, Grooms said “We wanted to make sure we had as much gaming capacity as possible while being able to serve a large portion of poker guests. We also looked at the market, and estimated what our share would be, and designed our room and the space around it. We not only wanted to make sure we had an adequate number of tables; we wanted to make sure we had enough space between the tables. Our room is pretty spacious. We could probably fit five or six more tables in there, but it would become less comfortable and that’s not the experience we were looking for.”
Grooms stated that although the waiting lists for poker tables are long, they have been able to keep players who are waiting engaged by being in regular contact with them and promoting other gaming options on the casino floor. Grooms also believes that the Maryland poker market will continue to grow in 2017.