Massachusetts Casinos Set Another Revenue Record, October Win Totals $96M

Posted on: November 16, 2021, 08:22h. 

Last updated on: November 16, 2021, 10:28h.

Massachusetts casinos have done it again. Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield, and Plainridge Park combined to win $95.98 million in October, which is yet another monthly revenue record for the state gaming industry.

Massachusetts casinos Encore MGM Plainridge
Encore Boston Harbor stands tall against the Boston skyline. The Wynn Resorts casino is the dominant player in Massachusetts’ gaming industry. (Image: TripAdvisor)

Massachusetts’ three casinos set their previous all-time best gross gaming revenue (GGR) mark only in July when they collectively kept $95.74 million. The robust business last month resulted in the state receiving more than $26.8 million in associated gaming taxes.

Encore and MGM each share 25 percent of their gaming win with the state. Plainridge Park, the slots-only facility, directs 49 percent of its terminal hold with the Boston capital.

Wynn Resorts’ $2.4 billion casino destination, located across the Mystic River from downtown Boston in Everett, continues to dominate the market. Encore reported a total October GGR of $62.8 million. The casino’s revenue was spread across the floor, as its slots won $32.2 million and table $30.6 million.

MGM was a distant second at $21.4 million. However, the Springfield casino predominantly made its revenue off its slot machines ($16.8 million). Plainridge’s terminals kept $11.7 million.

Plainridge Problem

October was the best month on record for Massachusetts’ gaming industry as a whole, but not for Plainridge Park. While Encore saw its GGR increase 9.2 percent from September, and MGM more than 10 percent, Plainridge experienced a month-to-month decline of 1.7 percent.

Plainridge, the oldest casino in the Commonwealth, is owned and operated by Penn National Gaming and its real estate investment trust, Gaming and Leisure Properties. There are plenty of concerns in the region that the recently rebranded casinos in nearby Rhode Island — Bally’s Twin River Lincoln Casino Resort and Bally’s Tiverton Casino & Hotel — are poaching more and more players from southeastern Massachusetts.

It could get worse, as Bally’s Twin River is currently embarking on a $100 million expansion that will result in 40,000 square feet of new gaming space, a spa, an entertainment venue, and cosmetic upgrades throughout the resort and 136-room hotel.

The two Bally’s properties both offer table games and sports betting — something Plainridge does not. Plainridge is a Category 2 facility, meaning it can only house slot machines. In exchange for being taxed higher than the two Category 1 casinos, Plainridge’s one-time slots license fee was $25 million instead of the $85 million MGM and Wynn paid the Commonwealth.

The Category 1 licenses are also required to invest at least $500 million into their resort properties. Plainridge’s Category 2 license mandates only a minimum capital investment of $125 million.

Two state lawmakers who represent the Plainridge area are seeking to allow the slots casino to include table games. But the House bill has failed to advance out of committee.

Sports Betting Latest

Four of the five states that share a border with Massachusetts now have regulated sports betting operational. State lawmakers have mulled such gaming expansion since the Supreme Court gave states the right to do so in May of 2018.

But with the 2021 legislative session approaching its end, the odds of a bill being passed by the November 17 close of legislative business seem long. Senate No. 269, a bill that seeks to legalize sports gambling on professional sports at the state’s three casinos, found some momentum in a Senate committee earlier this year but has been static since July.