Massachusetts Casinos Post Record Revenue, Gaming Win Totals Nearly $87M

Posted on: June 17, 2021, 09:01h. 

Last updated on: July 19, 2021, 02:57h.

Massachusetts casinos posted a new all-time record revenue month in May. The three casinos collectively won nearly $87 million from gamblers. 

Massachusetts casino gross gaming revenue
An employee at Encore Boston Harbor sanitizes an escalator handrail. Massachusetts casinos reported record gaming revenue in May 2021. (Image: Boston Business Journal)

Prior to May 2021, the state casinos’ best mark came just prior to the pandemic. February 2020 gross gaming revenue (GGR) came in at $85.8 million.

Despite operating under ongoing pandemic-related restrictions, including mandatory face mask-wearing, plexiglass barriers at table games, and social distancing being observed, the casinos took more money from gamblers than ever before. 

Wynn Resorts’ Encore Boston Harbor in Everett led the way with $52.9 million. MGM Resorts’ MGM Springfield was a distant second at $21.3 million, and Plainridge Park, the slots-only facility operated by Penn National Gaming, placed third at $12.5 million. 

The state receives 25 percent of the GGR generated at Encore and MGM, and 49 percent of Plainridge’s slot receipts. Last month, those taxes equated to more than $24.6 million.

Massachusetts legalized commercial gaming in November of 2011, when then-Gov. Deval Patrick (D) signed the Expanded Gaming Act. Plainridge Park was the first casino to open in the state four years later in June of 2015. 

COVID-19 Restrictions Lifted

Massachusetts’ three casinos hope to continue the GGR momentum with another strong performance in June. They’ve already been dealt a better hand for this month.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) lifted all COVID-19 operating restrictions on the casinos effective 12:01 am ET on Saturday, May 29. 

Guests and employees who are fully vaccinated are no longer required to wear masks, and patrons can also eat and drink freely while walking the casino floors. Slot machines no longer must be arranged to practice social distancing, plexiglass barriers at table games have been removed, and the properties are not constrained to reduced capacity limits. 

MGM and Encore said their human resources departments are able to track which employees have been vaccinated. Plainridge Park said it is instead using the honor system for its workers. 

All three properties are not requiring guests to prove they have been vaccinated if not wearing a mask.

Vaccinated, Test Positive

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health this week revealed that nearly 4,000 state residents have tested positive for COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated. However, the health agency reports that is just 0.1 percent of the more than 3.7 million fully vaccinated people in the state. 

The agency adds that those who have tested positive since being vaccinated are experiencing only minor symptoms, or are asymptomatic. “Breakthroughs,” as someone becoming infected with the coronavirus after being vaccinated is called, are more common in people who are immunocompromised. 

“Breakthroughs are expected, and we need to better understand who’s at risk and whether people who have a breakthrough can transmit the virus to others,” explained Boston University infectious diseases specialist Davidson Hamer. “In some cases, they’ll be shedding such low levels of the virus and won’t be transmitting to others.”