Maryland Casinos Benefit From Leap Year, February Gaming Win Up 1%

Posted on: March 7, 2024, 01:06h. 

Last updated on: March 7, 2024, 01:20h.

Maryland casinos ended their monthly gaming revenue slide last month, as the six properties saw their combined win increase by 1.4%.

Maryland casinos gaming revenue
MGM National Harbor led Maryland’s casino industry in February 2024 with gross gaming revenue of $66.8 million. Maryland casinos collectively won $159.2 million during the month. (Image: Getty)

The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Commission reports that the commercial brick-and-mortar casinos generated February gross gaming revenue (GGR) of approximately $159.2 million. That represented a nearly $2.2 million increase from February 2023.

State gaming taxes for the month increased about $872K to almost $67.8 million. Most of the tax receipts — $48.9 million — go to the state’s Education Trust Fund to benefit K-12 public schools.

Questionable Gain

February 2024 benefited from having an extra day with it being a leap year. With $159.2 million equating to about $5.5 million in daily GGR, February 2024 would have marked a year-over-year decrease had it not been for the 29th day.

Retail gaming, or in-person gambling at casinos, has been on a downward trend in Maryland and across much of the country. Prior to February, Maryland casinos reported year-over-year declines in five of the previous six months, with December marking the lone gain, and a marginal one at just 0.3%.

Thanks to the favorable comparable with an extra day in February 2024, Maryland casinos experienced their second month of year-over-year growth since August.

MGM National Harbor remained the richest casino with the integrated resort outside of Washington, DC winning $66.8 million, a 1.9% improvement from February 2023.

Live! Casino Maryland near BWI airport was, however, the most responsible for the February gain. The Hanover casino won more than $59.3 million, a 6.5% year-over-year increase. Horseshoe Baltimore continued its woes, with the $15 million won representing an 8% GGR reduction.

The state’s three smaller casinos reported mixed results. Hollywood Perryville saw GGR climb 1.4% to $7.4 million, but Ocean Downs reported a 7% slide to $6.4 million, and Rock Gap’s win fell almost 19% to $4.3 million.

The revenue is inclusive of slot machines and table games. Sports betting win will be reported later by the state gaming commission.

iGaming Considerations

During a gaming industry meeting this week in New York, analysts said they think New York and Maryland are the likeliest states to next legalize iGaming. That’s not a huge surprise, as legislation to authorize online slots and interactive table games has been introduced in each state.

Senate Bill 603 in January was filed in Annapolis by state Sen. Ron Watson (D-Prince George). The legislation seeks to allow each of the state’s six casinos to partner with up to two online casino platforms. Revenue from the internet operations would be taxed at 47%, with most of the money allocated for public school infrastructure.

The union representing the thousands of workers the casinos employ is opposed to online gaming on claims that the expanded gaming would poach play from the six brick-and-mortar establishments and lead to job cuts. Casino reps have differing opinions on the jobs assertion.

Thousands of people in Maryland will lose their jobs,” said Mark Stewart, executive vice president and general counsel at The Cordish Companies, which operates Live! Casino. Stewart said not only casino workers, but employees at nearby businesses like restaurants and retail shops, would suffer.

Horseshoe Baltimore General Manager Randall Conroy disagrees. He thinks iGaming could complement the state’s retail casino industry.

For Maryland to legalize iGaming, voters must approve of the gaming expansion through a statewide ballot referendum. A recent poll suggested there might not be adequate support to amend the Maryland Constitution to allow online gambling.