MGM National Harbor Aside, Maryland Casinos Lose 13 Percent in November

Posted on: December 6, 2017, 08:00h. 

Last updated on: December 6, 2017, 01:29h.

The $1.4 billion MGM National Harbor integrated casino resort some 10 miles southeast of the nation’s capital continues to poach gaming revenue away from its main competitors in Maryland.

MGM National Harbor Maryland casinos
MGM National Harbor has plenty to celebrate during its one-year anniversary party this month. (Image: Baltimore Sun)

According to the Maryland Lottery and Gaming report for November, MGM National Harbor was the top earner with a $50.6 million win from slot machines and table games. It marks the seventh time in 2017 that the MGM property eclipsed the $50 million threshold.

Maryland Live, which held the title of Maryland’s richest casino prior to MGM coming aboard a year ago this month, generated $43.4 million in revenue. That’s a 13.5 percent loss compared to the same month in 2016, which means the resort’s bottom line fell by more than $6.8 million.

Horseshoe Baltimore, the state’s third-best gaming earner that sits near the city’s professional sports stadiums, lost even more last month in terms of percentages. The Caesars property reported gross gaming of $22.7 million, down 20.3 percent, or $5.8 million.

Collectively, Maryland’s five casinos not named MGM lost 13.1 percent. With MGM included, overall casino win reached $130.5 million. That’s a 42 percent increase on November 2016’s $91.9 million when National Harbor was still putting the finishing touches on the resort.

In 2016, MGM CEO Jim Murren opined that the integrated resort would not impact the state’s other casinos, as the property wouldn’t be focused on Maryland’s local gambling crowd, but out-of-state visitors. According to the gaming report, Murren was wrong.

Smaller Casinos Win

Maryland Live and Horseshoe Baltimore might be failing to keep their patrons from fleeing to National Harbor, but the state’s smaller, regional casinos are finding new fortunes.

Aside from the three large casinos that are located in densely populated areas, Maryland is home to three rural gambling destinations. And Hollywood Casino Perryville, Oceans Downs Casino, and the Rocky Gap Casino Resort all posted gains last month.

Rocky Gap, the casino situated in northwestern Maryland near the Pennsylvania border, pulled in $4.1 million, an 8.4 percent gain on November 2016. Located just minutes outside of Ocean City, the Casino at Ocean Downs reported $3.9 million in gaming revenue, which is a 2.7 percent bump.

And Hollywood Casino Perryville, the slots-only facility that is roughly 40 miles northeast of Baltimore, won $5.8 million, a 2.6 percent increase.

Investments Continue

Ocean Downs, a joint venture between Churchill Downs and Saratoga Casino Holdings, two well-established horse racetrack “racino” operators, is currently undergoing an expansion to incorporate table games, additional slots, a new restaurant, and outdoor smoking and gaming patio.

Maryland Live has been most hurt by MGM National Harbor, with the casino down over $106 million through November. Regardless, parent organization The Cordish Company remains committed to the resort.

Work continues on Maryland Live’s $200 million, 17-story hotel tower that will offer 310 guestrooms, which is two more than MGM’s 308 rooms. In the interim, Cordish purchased a nearby former Hilton Garden Inn and rebranded it the Live Lofts Hotel. A shuttle transports Lofts guests to and from the casino, which is not within walking distance.

Finally, with the help of local tax dollars, Live is additionally building a convention center that will be used by public schools for graduations, as well as entertainment and concert events.