Some good news for Maryland’s legal gambling industry: Revenues are up from 2016. Some bad news for the Baltimore area’s two gambling spots: Revenues are sinking every month from 2016.
MGM National Harbor, the glitzy spectacle that opened up just south of Washington D.C. in Prince George’s County last January, raked in $50.1 million of the $130.5 million in revenue that flowed through Maryland casinos last month. June marked the third month of 2017 that MGM’s revenue surpassed $50 million (it’d be four straight if the casino had brought in another $55,000 in April). In that span, MGM’s share of state total has edged up a little bit each month, rising from 36 percent in March to 38 percent in June.
The gambling market is looking bright as a whole compared to 2016, with annual revenue increases of 40 percent in June, 31 percent in May and April and 44 percent in March. But it doesn’t feel that way in Baltimore or Anne Arundel County.
Caesars-owned Horseshoe Casino in South Baltimore watched its revenues drop 2, 10, 18 and 19 percent, respectively, in the last four months compared to 2016. While consultants had initially predicted monthly revenues in the $33-35 million range by late 2014, the reality is less rosy. The highest mark Horseshoe logged so far this year was $27 million in March and the lowest around $20 million in January.
The bleed has been even worse for the Live! Casino in Arundel Mills, with a 15 percent annual revenue decline in March and drops of 22 percent for three straight months.
The smaller casinos in rural areas are seeing a boost from the summer tourism season. Hollywood Casino Perryville, Casino at Ocean Downs in Berlin (a slot-only venture) and Rocky Gap Casino Resort in Cumberland all reported increases compared to June of last year.
Of course, the operators of Horseshoe and Live! aren’t the only ones making less money off of Baltimore-area gamblers. Under state law, 15 percent of all table game revenues goes to Maryland’s Education Trust Fund, and five percent goes to local impact grants to lift up the communities affected by the casinos. Fewer winnings for our neighborhood casinos mean less public funding from legal gambling.