Maryland Casinos Post September Surprise, Gaming Revenue Increases

Posted on: October 7, 2020, 10:56h. 

Last updated on: October 7, 2020, 11:54h.

Maryland casinos won more than $143.7 million in September, a one percent year-over-year premium. The $1.5 million uptick comes amid ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, most notably the 50 percent capacity limit.

Maryland casinos revenue GGR
Maryland casinos won more money from gamblers in September of 2020 than they did in the same month in 2019. (Image: The Baltimore Sun)

Gross gaming revenue (GGR) last month topped the $142.2 million the six casinos won in September of 2019.

Maryland casinos were closed by Gov. Larry Hogan (R) on March 16 in an effort to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. They were permitted to reopen on June 19.

In the first nine months of 2020, Casino won $833.5 million.

What Pandemic?

Maryland casinos are faring just fine since reopening in June, despite coronavirus constraints.

Maryland regulations require all guests to be screened prior to entry. Patrons must answer a series of health questions, and be subject to a temperature check. Certain slot machines have been disabled, and others rearranged, to maintain social distancing. Plexiglass barriers have been added to table games, and seating reduced. Eating is not permitted on the casino floor.

Guests apparently aren’t turned off by the health safety measures. September’s GGR increase follows August’s haul when the six casinos won $149.5 million — the state gaming industry’s eighth-best month on record.

MGM National Harbor, the $1.4 billion integrated resort opened by MGM Resorts in December of 2016, once again led the way last month. The casino won $57.4 million in September, which was a nominal decrease from September of 2019. Live! Casino and Hotel in Anne Arundel County was September’s big winner. The Cordish Companies property won over $49.1 million, a three percent increase, or $1.4 million, in September 2019.

Horseshoe Baltimore continued its struggles. The Caesars Entertainment casino near the city’s professional sports stadiums reported GGR of $17.6 million, down $951,000 year-over-year.

The state’s three smaller resort casinos — Ocean Downs in Worcester County, Hollywood Casino in Cecil County, and Rocky Gap Casino in Allegany County — collectively won $19.4 million. They won $18.2 million in September of 2019.

Nov. Election Sports Betting Question

On Nov. 3, Maryland voters will be asked if they want to legalize sports betting. If a simple majority backs the ballot referendum, the Old Line State will join neighbors Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, and DC in permitting legal gambling on sports.

Question 2 — the Sports Betting Expansion Measure — is vague at best. The initiative does not say where sports betting would be permitted. Casinos, racetracks, and sports venues all want in, but Question 2 does not specify which entities would qualify.

The Question additionally does not set a tax rate on sports wagering revenue, nor whether mobile betting would be allowed.

Do you approve the expansion of commercial gaming in the State of Maryland to authorize sports and events betting for the primary purpose of raising revenue for education?” is the question before Marylanders.

DraftKings is largely behind the campaign to bring sports betting to Maryland. The sportsbook and daily fantasy sports operator has donated $250,000 to the “Vote Yes on Question 2” campaign.

The ballot referendum outcome is expected to be close. A February poll conducted by Goucher College found that 47 percent of likely voters support legalizing sports betting.