Keeping the money in Maryland

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Seth Elkin of The Maryland Lottery discusses the latest sports wagering news and the money for the state education fund that is adding up now that mobile is online and locals are enjoying the action responsibly.


baseball, pittsburgh, maryland, baltimore, sports, people, jackpots, corvette, wagering, week, talking, state, ravens, orioles, point, lottery, pirates, good, seth, players


Nestor Aparicio, Seth Elkin

Nestor Aparicio  00:01

Looking back at W n s t tasks Baltimore Baltimore positive you’re positively into summer summer summertime and baseball and the the last couple of days of football before it becomes summertime the baseball season we’re gonna be doing the Maryland crabcake tour everywhere beginning good spirits West next Thursday. Oh, we have a full schedule up at Baltimore positive. I will be telling you more and more about it all of it brought to you by our friends at the Maryland lottery I give away these instant lottery throwback, scratch off the this has been a really lucky batch. We’ve had a lot of winners had some winners up at the local and fallston a couple of weeks ago as well, all summer long. And then we kick off our 25th anniversary tour. Beginning on August 3, we’re going to start that a Costas on the third. We’re going to be drugged city on the fourth. And we’re gonna be doing 25 oysters and 25 days in the month of September to celebrate the pennant race as well as other things. This guy and I have argued Pittsburgh and Baltimore sports before John Martin is on assignment this week as the executive director of all things Maryland lottery and gaming, and instead, Seth Alcon is here I love what Seth comes on. Because we talk a little baseball, we talk a little street stuff, certainly gonna talk a little sports wagering, you’re always good to have the marketing department on, you guys are busy spinning out we all summer with all these events you guys are doing right?

Seth Elkin  01:15

Yeah, it’s a lot of fun. It’s a busy time of year for us. You know, we were out at hunt fest. And we’ve got a whole bunch of other events coming up over the summer here. And of course, culminating with the State Fair and a very big event for us there where we’re going to have a 10 of our finalists in the cashback promotion, six of whom have been drawn already, there’s still two more drawings, where we’re going to select four more winners of the finalist for the caf batch. And then we get to the state fair, and one of them is going to have a chance to win up to $5 million in that event. So

Nestor Aparicio  01:47

what is up to 5 million? Give me what does that mean? Because you’ve never had an event like this, right? Like at the State Fair. We’re a couple of humans with it. We’ve all seen the Ravens all the Ravens fans know that for all these years, you guys have been doing tickets for life and giveaways and prizes and money, that it’s always on the field. There’s a drawing, there’s a winner out of a handful of people. But this is 5 million bucks is a different that’s a different gig than no offense. The Ravens tickets are even to BB last month or one or sell 51 Grant. That’s great. It’s $5 million. All different thing here. Yeah,

Seth Elkin  02:21

it’s it’s a lot of fun. Of course, it’s attached to our 50th anniversary, right? You know, we’re turning 50. So everything’s about the fives it was that $50,000 prize that Barbara Phelps Anderson from Shadyside won for the 50th home run of the season and a potential to win a $5 million at the state fair. So in addition to the $50 scratch off ticket that we launched the first time ever that we’ve had one of those that connected to our 50th anniversary, so having a lot of fun with it that this year and the fun continues as we go through the summer here.

Nestor Aparicio  02:51

Seth Elkins here visiting from the Maryland lot of rushing we do in the meritocratic tour right around the corner of spirits West at a Wilkins right around from the headquarters there. Sports wagering, you and I didn’t talk a whole lot about that last month or two. It’s It’s ubiquitous now. Right? He went from zero to me being a reporter. And then if I ever talked about gambling, they wouldn’t give me a press pass to Now Ben McDonald, the third and he’s talking about bets in the fourth inning. I still think the industry and Shawn and I talked at length about this last week, the industry is geared for football. I mean, it’s a it’s a football thing in this country, for the most part, but we have NBA Finals NHL, and there’s people betting on baseball, but you guys are starting to tally numbers. And as a new entity for our state, certainly casino frontage, and then mobile that came along in the last year, that the monthly take for the state, which is what you’re set up to do. You’re set up to do this to make money that goes to a fund that helps education, transportation, all sorts of things that the money does. But that money is starting to add up now in a way that 31 years of me doing sports radio here, there really is a monthly report that you’re in charge of that saying, hey, this, this is good for the state, this is money into our fun.

Seth Elkin  04:04

Yeah, and we we’re it’s very interesting to look at what these numbers are month to month, we’re still really kind of getting a handle on exactly the dynamics of this market. Because, you know, keep in mind, this is only the second year, we launched the very first retail sports books launched in December of 2021. So we’re like a year and a half into this now. And we’re really only six or seven months into mobile, which is where most of the market is. So we’re really gonna get a sense of the dynamics and the conventional wisdom. The conventional thing that you do when you look at financial numbers is is the same period of time year over year, so May of this year compared to May of last year. And that’s impossible. And yeah, we’re at a point where we can’t quite do that really in a valid way until the end of this year because we didn’t have mobile a year ago, the mobile launched right before Thanksgiving of 2022. So when we get to the end of the year, what you’re going to see us do is look at December Have 23 compared to December of 22, you really get a true sense of what the market is doing. Because at that point, you’re comparing months with the same number of days and with the same sports calendar. And that’s really the important part of this, you know, the calendar of events, from one month to the next in sports wagering changes so much, that it’s it’s a little odd to be comparing consecutive months to each other, which at this point is what a lot of people have a tendency to do. Well, how did they do compared to April? Well, you’re talking about a completely different schedule of events. So it’s, it’s not quite the apples to apples comparison yet. But still, it’s interesting to look at the dynamics of this and get a sense of what the numbers are. We just reported the main revenue. And the state got $4.6 million contributed to the blueprint for Maryland’s Future Fund, which is Republic education. That’s where the sports wagering money goes. And that is, I think, more than probably what we anticipated for for May, more than what we anticipated for the spring and summer months. Because the conventional wisdom, as you mentioned, is that you get more wagering interest in football and basketball season. And as you get into the spring and summer months, it starts to taper off a little bit. And that is sort of baseball

Nestor Aparicio  06:13

never built any inertia ever. We’re football was always about gambling and pull cards. I’ve been a baseball fan forever at baseball city, you and I talked about your affinity for Willie Stargell and your parents affinity for Clemente before that baseball and wagering was never a P rose. Right? I mean, like,

Seth Elkin  06:32

you know, it was taboo. It was it was remote and you weren’t supposed to do it p bros got got banned for life for doing people didn’t

Nestor Aparicio  06:38

understand it either from starting pitching, and that was a seven and a half over an eight and a half. And like how do I even wage one, it was easy to say, oh, three points, four points in a football game. It was understandable. Same thing with hockey with a goal and a half a tooth. Like under when I would go to Vegas, and I’m a season sports guy. I’m a huge sports fan expert. So what I’ve done my whole life. And I would go to Vegas and look up on the board and say it looks like a racing form. I don’t understand, you know what I mean. And I think the baseball part of this that’s coming along, in regard to the way you would look at it the way you would look at odds the way you would look at value, to say this is a good play for me or a bad play for me as someone that would be wagering money, that is still shaking itself out as to how broadcasters are handling it, how it’s being evaluated by people that maybe never been on baseball before that now have an interest because they’re watching games, and they they find entertainment in it, they find value in it in some way. The baseball side of this is where the upside I guess would be if people understood it better. And I think the broadcasters or the sports on that the sport is very invested in educating you on how to play if you want.

Seth Elkin  07:54

Very interesting to see considering, you know, as we just mentioned how baseball has treated gambling over the decades, you know, it’s a, it’s been a real change in direction for all pro sports, really. But I think football lends itself to it. Because it’s such a predictable schedule. It’s one game a week, you have time to think and consider and look at all of the factors that weigh into how you might want to place your wager. But the interesting thing here with the numbers in May, I think is the handle came down a little bit compared to April again, comparing consecutive months each other not necessarily the best thing to do. But I’m a walking contradiction. I’m going to do it anyway. Right now. There was less handle by about $8 million in in May compared to April, but the the contribution to the state went up from about $3.9 million to $4.6 million. So that’s an interesting look at the all of the variables that are involved in the dynamics of this business. It’s it’s a question of how the wagers go how well people do on their wagers how much the whole percentage is that the sportsbook operators hold after they pay their their winnings and of course, a lot of unpredictable results that can have a big impact on on how things go. We got NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Finals going on right now with to number eight seeds from South Florida that barely squeaked into the playoffs to begin with. And they’re now in the finals. So that probably upset the applecart on a lot of people’s wages. Anybody that the Celtics or the Bruins going into the finals, as you might very well have if you lost bet on that you lost you lost your bet you lost on the Celtics in the Bruins with that historic regular season that epic regular season got bounced out in the first round by the Florida Panthers. So

Nestor Aparicio  09:36

you’ve done enough winning. I mean for Pittsburgh guy in the Baltimore guy, I’m done with Boston. I’m done with that.

Seth Elkin  09:44

I kind of grew up as a bit of a Celtics fan. We didn’t have a basketball team in Pittsburgh and I had a friend that I grew up with whose parents were from Boston and that turned all the kids in our neighborhood into Celtics fans, which was kind of kind of fun right at the right time in the 80s when the Celtics were

Nestor Aparicio  09:57

it’s funny you say that because I was a big Pittsburgh, PA bases fan. When I saw the fish, it’s a Pittsburgh so I was at Dr. J guy as a kid. So Dr. J was my player. Seth Alcon is our player here. He’s from the marketing department of all things Maryland lottery and gaming, state wagering contributes $4.6 million to the state during May you wish the press release, we’re talking a little bit about that. The esoteric part of this was back in September, October, November, all these sports houses come online, they, they were all advertising here and there and everywhere, about first place $200, this and free play that and $5 get you 100, and all of that. That was a an introductory offer. And part of that was that the state sort of look the other way on the taxes of that in the beginning as promotional play. But a lot of that has now gone away. That’s another reason why this thing is sort of gaining momentum because players are playing now. And the initial offer period is sort of going away. For the most part,

Seth Elkin  10:57

that’s a very important point, the amount of promotional play is drastically less than it was in those first few months. And as you say, for the first year that the sports book operators are going here in Maryland, they get to deduct all of that promotional spending, before we calculate how much tax they owe to the states. So that did impact the bottom line for the first few months. But that number is drastically lower now than it was and there is a cap on it after the first year. So they’re not I don’t have an unlimited amount of that to work with as they go forward. But I think we’ll start to see a little bit more of that ramped back up as we get to football season, partly because there are still more operators to come online, we actually had one that launched right at the end of May, the fanatic sports book, which already was running a retail location at FedEx field, and Landover started its mobile operation, right at the end of May, they had their controlled demonstration date, May 30, and then went live on June 1, and that meet makes 10. Now, mobile operators here in the state, and there are still 11 more to go because there were 21 applicants. So those remaining 11 are all in various phases of preparing the launch. And we would anticipate that some or most of those are going to be ready to go by football season, because we know that the handle is going to ramp up at that point. And I’m sure they’re going to want to take advantage of that. And you’re going to see them come with offers when they launch. So that’s going to ramp up a little bit of competition in the fall. And I think we’re looking for that, to see how that impacts things and see how much more market there is. Are these new operators when they come online. Gonna take a little bit of market share from some of the existing players that are already in or are they going to open up new parts of the market. It’s an interesting, again, part of the dynamic that we don’t know yet because we’re still so new. So early on in doing this.

Nestor Aparicio  12:46

I do know if you want to bet on the Orioles winning the World Series, the odds are less than they were and the Ravens as well. And it’s a good time to do that if you want to get involved in that it’s summertime around here. And that’s always a lot of fun for all of us. Seth Alcon is here from the Maryland lottery. I want to get back on to the games and what you guys are doing with 50th As far as the summer and different things that you’re bringing, but the jackpots got big this week too, right? I mean, like there’s always something cooking with you guys, which is why you come on every week, but the jackpot has I’ve talked jackpots here I don’t think 90 days because it was sort of baking in you had all this 50th anniversary at home run riches we get things happening here, but still talking jackpots now going up in a quarter billion dollars both sides?

Seth Elkin  13:27

Yes, slowly but surely we’re now at more than a half a billion combined on the Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots the two big national games. And you know, it’s so interesting. I mean, you’ve talked about this over and over that, that it used to be $100 million, get people excited, and send people rushing to their retailer to buy some tickets and you know, you’ve got you’ve got both of them now at more than 260 million Powerball actually is more than $300 million. And you know, not a whole lot of talk of chatter about it, but it’s going to start to ramp up it takes on a life of its own once we get up over 500 million or 600 million on some of those on those two games. We start to see people coming out to play a lot more it does definitely drive ticket sales when that happens. So it’s it’s fun when those two games are really rolling along because it just captures everybody’s imagination. And you’re right it’s been a little while so I think we’re doing we’re due for a nice long jackpot roll and Powerball is starting to get there at 320 25 almost $325 million at this point.

Nestor Aparicio  14:25

My wife always noticed we go by the Royal farm she looks in a little window looks for the two lights you know she’s waiting for the billion to come back but then I think we’re we’re a little ways away from that. Local winners and these i This has been a lucky batch you tell Roz this. It’s old school. We got a lot of winners as we’ve gone out here this summer. Bring me up to speed on scratch offs where we are really lucky sevens Corvette out there. Still got the whole line of the 50th anniversary is out there. And still a lot of big tickets. I mean, you want a lot of money on a scratch off.

Seth Elkin  14:56

Yep, the Corvette cash. As you mentioned, there’s a second chance contest can acted with that as well. So you could win $50,000 on the ticket, but then there are $10,000 Second Chance prizes. And then there is the final drawing that will happen for Corvette cash right at the beginning of October. So you got plenty of time to get in on that. And that final drawing is going to give you enough to buy a Corvette for yourself. $150,000 prize 150,000

Nestor Aparicio  15:18

Would that buy my wife a 67 Corvette or not?

Seth Elkin  15:22

I don’t know about 67. I don’t know about vintage, but you can certainly buy a new one right Google

Nestor Aparicio  15:27

this couple of weeks ago. I mean, I’ll get her one in crappy shape. I mean, it doesn’t need to be in perfect shape if we win this thing. Let’s see 1967 Corvette I’m just working value. Let’s see how much does it cost in excess of 75 that Well, I can do that again. There you go. 75 grand,

Seth Elkin  15:46

so I’m probably better at pricing sports collectibles than I am at vintage automobiles apparently. So that’s a good

Nestor Aparicio  15:52

looking car man. It really is. I would look really good in that car. So with my wife by the way, tell her I’m gonna get her one of the little model sets because that’s our dream car and 67 Corvette

Seth Elkin  16:04

There you go Corvette cash you got a chance to win enough to buy one you want

Nestor Aparicio  16:08

to ride that you know you would set out and he’s here he doesn’t come off and when he does we get a baseball you want to say here give you a little free rein to run wild with your baseball game because you pretend to be a pirates fan. But you know a whole lot about the Orioles farm system you really do.

Seth Elkin  16:21

I well, I don’t know all that much about the farm system. Probably I do know that they’ve got a host of great players that are on their way. And you know we were talking a little bit earlier about they got good problems to have figuring out where to get all these guys on the field when they come up. And even on their current major league roster figuring out how to get everybody on the field is Gunnar Henderson, a shortstop or a third baseman

Nestor Aparicio  16:42

you play anywhere he wants to be it’s the ball 464 feet

Seth Elkin  16:47

so yeah, it’s really a treat to to see these guys. You know, see the work that the organization has put in come to fruition. You know, I am I am quietly an Orioles fan on my mom’s side. The family’s from Baltimore. My mom watches the Orioles all the time. So she’s I in fact I sent her she was in my parents were in Florida until recently came back here they do the Snowbird thing. And that a couple of maybe about a month ago or six weeks ago, they were in Kansas City and Cedric Bowens made that diving, catch on the on the warning track, and then just look for all the world that the ball was over his head. And I sent her the video clip I said, I said, you know, you’re not in town, I send it to my mom, you know, you miss this, you might want to see this and that she she sent back and said, I watched that three times. I can’t believe that he caught that. You know?

Nestor Aparicio  17:33

I mean, it’s the same thing with my wife that they didn’t play Monday night. My wife’s like, what are we gonna do? And when they play these afternoon games, just like that we’re building the night around that and Wordle you know what I mean? Like, so there is a point where the Orioles have quickly move back into, let’s say, must see, but must know, you know what I mean? Like everybody knows who they’re playing what’s going on, we’re getting to know the players a little bit. players seem like a guys when I see them on. So it has been fun and very, very meaningful to me being the free the birds guy and being the guy whose last name is Aparicio, that I’ve lived long enough to at least see this sort of come back to life in a way where people can legitimately be excited again, and I think it breathes new life into the community

Seth Elkin  18:14

really does started I think a little bit last year, and we got into September, and they mathematically it was going to be a challenge. But they still had a chance to make the playoffs in September. So normally by September, nobody’s talking about the Orioles. And every everything’s focused on the Ravens. And being from Pittsburgh, you know, the same dynamic exists there that people stopped talking about the pirates once the Steelers go to training camp. Once they hit with trope, the pirate season is over.

Nestor Aparicio  18:39

Well, great on last week from the Associated Press. He’s a Marylander. From Waldorf, it’s been in Pittsburgh for the, you know, dozen years covering sports professionally for all of the sports up there. And we, you know, we talked a little bit about the potential for the pirates and what the Steelers represent in the community. But I’m like, do the penguins are a big deal in Pittsburgh. And that’s one thing that from a Baltimore perspective, maybe lacrosse, fills that hole for what people are into here maybe was horse racing at one point but but for the calendar, Pittsburgh’s got a rich thing going on. And it’s hard for baseball to break through.


Were here.

Nestor Aparicio  19:13

We’ve all been waiting for baseball to break through, you know, like, and once it does, it sort of opens up a floodgate of Oh, that’s fun. That’s good. I remember that I loved Cal, I love Bucha I love books. I love to Eddie, you know, whatever it is that that feeling for Gunnar Henderson, Adley rutschman, these young players that it can come back and see a comeback. So beautiful thing it really is.

Seth Elkin  19:37

You just hope that the economics of the game don’t cause this team to get broken up. Because I think that’s what we’ve seen so often for teams that have tough financial problems, the pirates, you know, they get good and then the team gets broken up and it takes years to get back there. Again, you know, you you want to take advantage of that opportunity. Once you’ve got it. You know, once you’ve got that collection of players, you really want to see it happen and I think you’re you’re right that that’s the feeling that you definitely get when you go to the ballpark. And it’s there is an excitement building. And I think to me, it’s I could feel it like I said, for the first time really it’s September of last year, where the team was still relevant and it wasn’t just all football talk you were still talking baseball in September, which which had to be a great feeling for Warriors fans.

Nestor Aparicio  20:21

Well, the excitement of a guy hit and aware the warehouse and the things that are going on the things are doing every moment is coming back. I mean, everything they’ve taught even Aaron Hicks is turned out to be a good thing. They’re gonna they’re gonna make a deal or two, they’re gonna deal for some pitchers and the Ravens get out of the way at the end of this week. And it’s all baseball all summer long. So we’ll be following that. I will be giving away these Maryland lottery scratch offs, courtesy of our friends at the Maryland lottery and 50th anniversary. We’re gonna be doing that at spirits West next week. We have a whole roster of crabcake dates I talked about them you’re on the air you go check them out at the crabcake tour area of Baltimore positive as well. Big appreciation our friends window nation for giving me the fun floppy hat and putting us on the road all summer long to celebrate 25 years, our 25th anniversary and you’re invited Seth as his John Martin Ross dog, everybody come over and we’re going to start the tour Costas on the third that is our 25th anniversary for wn St. And then on the fourth we’re gonna go back to drug city two days and Dundalk to begin our 26th year of Radio Free Dundalk Seth I appreciate you as always up see you out on the road maybe go to ballgame together here it’s summertime in a big city man.

Seth Elkin  21:29

There we go plenty plenty of seats as good as they are plenty of seats I saw the game the other day I was watching there are lots of seats available so you know plenty of opportunity to go good good crowds but but lots of opportunity to

Nestor Aparicio  21:41

I want to see mama elk and Dan there and the white panel bird cartoon front alright look like up Martinez. All right. For the Maryland lottery stop, I got to have you on brother. We got a busy week Luke’s out in Owings Mills during the day he’s at Camden Yards at night they let him in I’m uninvited but I’m still here watching. We are talking we are writing on column nursing rereleasing, the Peter principles and Luke can be found anywhere. The Internet travels at Baltimore Luke from Camden Yards down to two Owings Mills in the afternoon as well. Any breaking news you get first on the wn St. tech service. All that brought to you by friends at coons Baltimore Ford, I am Nestor we are WNS da and 1570, Towson Baltimore. We never stop talking Baltimore positive

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