MGM National Harbor and Live! Forced to Reduce Casino Capacity Limit to 25 Percent

Posted on: December 10, 2020, 11:48h. 

Last updated on: December 10, 2020, 01:06h.

Maryland’s MGM National Harbor and Live! Casino & Hotel are being forced on county orders to reduce their gaming floor capacity limits to 25 percent.

MGM National Harbor Maryland casino
A man cleans public areas at the MGM National Harbor. Next week, fewer people will be allowed on the MGM National Harbor casino floor. (Image: Getty)

MGM’s gaming space at the integrated resort located just outside DC across the Potomac River has been limited. It is operating at 50 percent since reopening in June. So has Live!, which is located near BWI airport.

Prince George’s County, part of the Washington metropolitan area and home to MGM National Harbor, and Anne Arundel County, home to Live!, are reimplementing COVID-19 restrictions because of an increase in new cases and hospitalizations.

Beginning Wednesday, December 16 at 5 pm ET in each county, indoor dining and bars must close, and casinos and retail establishments are constrained to 25 percent capacity.

We are headed in the wrong direction and we need to take swift action,” said Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks. “These are not just numbers, but people we love.”

“I’m sorry to bring you this kind of news, but I’m heartened that so many of us believe that this is what we need to do,” stated Anne Arundel County executive Steuart Pittman. “We need to push these numbers down to protect our health care system.”

Lower Revenue Hurts Education Fund

MGM National Harbor was faring well despite the enduring virus. The casino reported gross gaming revenue (GGR) of $55.3 million last month, a 2.6 percent year-over-year increase.

The MGM Resorts property accounted for more than 42 percent of the $130.3 million the state’s six commercial casinos won in November. Live! placed second with GGR of $45 million, or a market share of 34.5 percent. Limiting gaming operations at Maryland’s market leaders will result in reduced tax revenue for education, as casinos predominantly support the Maryland Education Trust Fund.

In 2020, MGM National Harbor has contributed nearly $128 million to education. Live! has directed $117 million.

County officials say tighter COVID-19 constraints are needed to get a better grip on the raging virus.

“Even with all we’re doing, the virus is still spreading,” Alsobrooks stated. “It is not contained at this point.”

At the end of the day, we’re going to look back on this time and we’re going to ask ourselves if there was more that we could have done to save lives,” Pittman opined.

MGM National Harbor and Live! will join Caesars Entertainment’s Horseshoe Baltimore in operating at 25 percent capacity. The horseshoe was required to scale back its gaming operations from 50 percent to 25 percent in November on city orders.

Case Surge

Maryland’s coronavirus infection rate has more than tripled since November 1. The rate has jumped from 14 people per 100,000 residents to 45 per 100,000 this week.

The populous counties in the Old Line State are making a concerted effort to slow COVID-19. But Maryland’s three smaller resort-style casinos — Hollywood Casino Perryville, Ocean Downs, and Rocky Gap — are located in more rural areas.

As of now, those casinos are free to remain operating at 50 percent capacity.