In the case of the Maryland venues which have seen a large amount of expansion recently and will continue to do so, it looks as though slots beat bingo, with the new casinos and their slot rooms taking business away from the bingo halls which have been around for longer and until now were experiencing great business. Wayson’s Bingo is a great example of the trend, a hall which was intensely popular in the 1980s with the seven hundred and fifty seats of the venue often full by the time a game started.
The Anne Arundel County hall is now suffering, with many of the players who got into it in its heyday either dying or going to the slot parlours at locations like Maryland Live!. It seems as though the slot machine games form more of a draw for modern players, and now the bingo halls are seeing another two threats coming in to the area soon: the Horseshoe Casino which is set to open in mid 2014, and the casino at National Harbour which is planned for 2016. This last venue will be just thirty minutes away from Wayson’s, and could be the business that tolls the death knell for the ailing bingo hall.
“We’d like to think we can survive,” said D. Boone Wayson, the son of the Wayson who originally opened the bingo hall back in 1959. “We’d like to believe there are enough bingo customers who just want bingo. But bingo is a declining business.” Only three bingo halls still remain in the county, from what was once a thriving industry – Delta Bingo, Bingo World, and Wayson’s. Interestingly enough, it was at Waysons where Steve Wynn started out as a gambling operator back in the 1960s, so it could almost be said that it occupies a real place in gambling history. Estimates show that since Maryland Live! opened back in June at Arundel Mills, bingo halls in the county have experienced a twenty five per cent decrease in revenue from the year before. “Obviously, more machines and more places for people to play them will have a negative effect on our business,” Boone Wayson said.