Maryland’s VLT Loan Program Generates $466M Economic Impact in State

Program provides access to capital for small, minority, and women-owned businesses

BALTIMORE, Md. — Maryland’s Video Lottery Terminal Fund (VLT) has fueled nearly $466 million in economic activity over the last three fiscal years, according to an economic impact analysis by the Regional Economic Studies Institute (RESI) at Towson University. RESI determined that over the same period (FY2014-FY2017), the program led to the creation of 3,059 new jobs in Maryland, with total wages of more than $159 million.

The economic analysis is part of a recent study commissioned by the Maryland Department of Commerce, which administers the Small, Minority, and Women-Owned Businesses Investment Account (commonly referred to as the VLT Fund). To conduct the study, RESI surveyed the companies receiving funds through the program and interviewed business owners, economic developers, and fund managers.

“This study reinforces what we’ve learned anecdotally, that our VLT program has been incredibly successful in helping small, minority, and women-owned businesses access much-needed capital,” said Maryland Commerce Secretary Mike Gill. “These businesses are the backbone of our economy, and the VLT program is an important part of our efforts to help them grow and thrive in Maryland.”

More than half of business owners interviewed by RESI stated that the program provided funding when traditional sources would not. In some cases, the VLT funding was the determining factor in starting, continuing or expanding a business.

The Maryland’s VLT program is managed by eight fund managers around the state that receive funds to loan to small, minority, and women-owned companies. Eighty-eight percent of respondents in the RESI study reported being satisfied or very satisfied with the VLT program and with their fund manager.

The VLT is funded through 1.5 percent of the proceeds from the six casinos in Maryland: Hollywood Casino Perryville in Cecil County, Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore City, Maryland Live in Anne Arundel County, National Harbor in Prince George’s County, Ocean Downs in Worcester County, and Rocky Gap in Allegany County.

As such, it is the only lottery-funded program in the nation that is dedicated to providing loans to small, minority, and woman-owned businesses. At least 50 percent of the VLT allocations are designated for such businesses in targeted areas surrounding the casinos. The remaining 50 percent is available to small, minority, and women-owned businesses throughout Maryland. By generating jobs in targeted areas of need, the program supports areas that have not always benefited from economic growth.

The RESI study determined that there is significantly more demand for loans than available funding. Additional funds would allow fund managers to provide larger loans and expand the portfolio of companies they serve.

For more information on the VLT program, including a list of fund managers, visit VLT program.

About Maryland Commerce

The Maryland Department of Commerce stimulates private investment and creates jobs by attracting new businesses, encouraging the expansion and retention of existing companies, and providing financial assistance to Maryland companies. The Department promotes the State’s many economic advantages and markets local products and services at home and abroad to spur economic development and international investment, trade and tourism. Because they are major economic generators, the Department also supports the Arts, film production, sports and other special events. For more information, visit commerce.maryland.gov.