Maryland Live Back on Top After Taking Wind Out of MGM National Harbor’s Sails

Posted on: March 8, 2017, 01:00h. 

Last updated on: March 8, 2017, 01:03h.

Maryland Live is once again the top casino in the state after the Arundel Mills resort generated more gaming revenue during the month of February than its new rival MGM National Harbor.

Maryland Live revenue MGM National Harbor
Maryland Live, billed as the family friendly casino compared to MGM National Harbor, saw the most gambling money come through its doors during February. (Image: Maryland Live)

Collectively, the state’s six casinos pulled in $128.7 million in gross gaming win, Maryland’s second-best all-time performance. The record mark came in December after the grand opening of National Harbor led to a win of $133.5 million.

Maryland Live’s revenue totaled $46.29 million last month, narrowly edging MGM’s property that sits just outside Washington, DC, at $45.77 million. The two casinos represented the lion’s share of gaming income, with Horseshoe Baltimore coming in a distant third with $22 million.

Three smaller regional gambling facilities, Hollywood Casino Perryville, Rocky Gap Casino Resort, and the Casino at Ocean Downs, posted a combined $14.6 million.

The Cordish Companies, the parent organization of Live that is headquartered in Maryland, credited its “family approach” for the property retaking the top spot. In a statement the group also says being locally owned allows it to provide a better experience to customers, in what’s certainly a slight jab at MGM.

Mixed Results

The February gambling report represents a 38 percent increase on the same month in 2016. Casinos took $35.4 million more money during the shortest month of the year, but the data also highlights plenty of concerns for Maryland gaming.

Excluding MGM’s $1.4 billion resort, gambling was actually down more than 11 percent. And while Maryland Live is championing its February victory, in truth the casino amassed 14.3 percent less revenue year-over-year.

Maryland Live’s $46.29 million is down $7.72 million compared to last February. And conditions couldn’t have been riper for strong revenues, as the month was one of the warmest on record.

Since MGM announced its plans to build National Harbor, Maryland Live has been scrambling to make sure its property remained competitive against the behemoth outside of DC in Oxford Hill. Live and National Harbor are about 35 miles apart, but both are competing for the wealthy DC and Northern Virginia demographic.

Maryland Live announced the construction of a 17-story hotel tower with 310 guest rooms last summer. MGM National Harbor offers 308 hotel rooms.

National Harbor Underwater?

MGM’s latest casino to open in the US was downright packed during its opening month. The resort asked would-be visitors to stay away unless they had a reservation.

Just three months later, enthusiasm and excitement has seemingly calmed.

In the opening weeks, a nightly stay at the hotel ran between $399 and $599. But midweek rates are now as low as $229, though weekends are still in the prior range.

MGM likely isn’t too concerned with the February gaming report. While Live continues to fret over the competition, MGM CEO Jim Murren has repeatedly stated that the property seeks to be a destination resort for not only gamblers but also visitors to the nation’s capital.