Maryland Casinos Win $170.7M in April, Fourth-Best Month on Record

Posted on: May 6, 2022, 09:42h. 

Last updated on: May 6, 2022, 09:53h.

Maryland casinos reported strong gaming revenue last month, with players losing more than $170.7 million.

Maryland casinos gambling GGR National Harbor
MGM National Harbor’s LCD screen displays the US Capitol at sunset in 2019. The MGM Resorts property led the way in pushing Maryland casino revenue to $170.7 million in April of 2022. (Image: MGM Resorts)

In April of 2021, Maryland’s six commercial gaming properties saw gross gaming revenue (GGR) climb 5.3% year-over-year on a favorable comparison. MGM National Harbor and Horseshoe Baltimore remained limited to operating at 50% capacity on ongoing COVID-19 orders.

Last month, all six casinos were free of pandemic-related directives. As a result, gaming flourished, creating the state industry’s fourth-best month in history.

Maryland’s commercial gaming industry dates back to 2008, when residents approved a referendum to allow slot machines at as many as five casinos. The industry expanded in 2010 with table games and another brick-and-mortar casino, which became MGM National Harbor.

Maryland’s top five all-time best gaming months have now been experienced since the start of 2021.

Robust Recovery

COVID-19 shuttered all six Maryland casinos in 2020. But the properties bounced back quickly to unprecedented levels, as pent-up demand and stimulus checks fueled heavy action.

Last year, the Maryland casinos reported combined GGR of $1.92 billion. It easily bested the state’s previous record of $1.76 billion, set in 2019.

Gaming continued its strong run last month, with market leader MGM seeing its GGR surge more than 13% from April 2021. National Harbor’s haul of over $70.5 million nearly matched the resort’s all-time best month of $73.3 million, set last July.

Live! Casino & Hotel reported April ’22 GGR of $58.8 million, which was a 1% year-over-year premium. Horseshoe Baltimore, however, continued its struggles, the city casino seeing GGR decline almost 4% from April ’21 to $18.9 million.

Maryland’s three resort casinos — Hollywood Perryville, Ocean Downs in Berlin, and Rocky Gap Resort — collectively won approximately $22.5 million. That’s about a 5% gain.

On the $170.7 million in GGR, a little more than $71.8 million was paid to the state in the form of taxes. The state’s Education Trust Fund (ETF) is the largest gaming beneficiary. The fund benefits public elementary and secondary education. Since Maryland’s first casino opened in 2010, the ETF has received almost $4 billion in gaming taxes.

The April numbers are inclusive of only slot machines and table games. Sports betting revenue, which is operational at five of the six casinos, will be reported later.

In March, the five sportsbooks reported handle of $31 million, and hold — or amount won — totaling $3.8 million. Sports betting is expected to balloon once the state allows online books to begin operating.

Online Sportsbook Delay

As reported this week, Maryland online sports betting faces further delays. The odds now favor mobile betting commencing sometime this fall or winter.

The holdup is because of the sports betting law state politicians passed last year. The gaming expansion statute requires online sports betting to be inclusive of minority-owned small businesses.

But gaming officials at the Maryland Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) say there’s a considerable learning curve for such entities. The sports betting regulatory panel is hosting an informational meeting today to better explain the opportunity and associated costs and considerations for qualifying businesses.