Massachusetts Casinos Win $70M in September, Revenue Down 12 Percent

Posted on: October 16, 2020, 10:20h. 

Last updated on: October 19, 2020, 11:02h.

Massachusetts casinos performed well during their second full month back in operation, the three properties collectively winning $70.5 million in September.

Encore Boston Harbor in Everett, Mass. seen here. The casino had a strong September, and with roulette back, October should be even better. (Image: Everett Leader)

Despite being restricted to 49 percent of their total gaming positions, the casinos won 87 percent of the gross gaming revenue (GGR) that they did in September of 2019.

Encore Boston Harbor remains the dominant casino property in the Bay State. The Wynn Resorts casino won just shy of $43 million, down from $49 million year-over-year. MGM Springfield reported a GGR of $17.6 million — down from $19.8 million in September 2019.

Plainridge Park Casino, the state’s slots-only facility, kept $9.9 million of gamblers’ money. That’s down from $11.5 million.

Encore and MGM, Category 1 resort casinos, share 25 percent of their slot and table game win with the state. The Category 2 slots parlor is taxed at 49 percent. Taxes from gambling totaled $20 million last month.

Roulette Returns

When Massachusetts casinos were allowed to reopen in July, the state told Encore Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield that roulette, craps, and poker remained prohibited due to the games’ high-touch aspects.

That decision greatly hampered Encore’s return, as the casino generates roughly half of its gaming revenue from table games. However, during the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s (MGC) October 8 meeting, the agency voted unanimously to allow the two Category 1 casinos to resume such table gameplay. However, it will be in a modified way.

Tables are limited to three players, and gamblers must be seated and not congregate around the roulette wheel. Players must be separated by plexiglass barriers that are at least six feet high, and chips must be sanitized each time they go to the cage.

Encore has 16 roulette tables back in operation, and MGM has seven.

MGM City Payments

City officials in Springfield say MGM is late on a $2.3 million payment. According to the MGM Resorts host community agreement, the casino has various annual obligations to the city, some of which are based on its GGR.

On April 1, MGM paid Springfield a little more than $5.5 million, which was a partial payment of $7.78 million it owed.

“Collaborative and productive conversations with the city are ongoing,” MGM Springfield spokesman Jose Delgado said Wednesday. “We both understand the nature of the pandemic and how it has adversely impacted the hospitality industry.”

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno said this week that MGM will not be given a break on its financial obligations.