MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park saw their gross gaming revenues (GGR) nearly halved in 2020 compared with their 2019 numbers.
Massachusetts is home to three casinos — Encore Boston Harbor being the third. Total GGR for the three properties last year was $551.93 million. Despite state-ordered closures from mid-March through June, and ongoing reduced capacity limits and numerous regulatory safeguards, 2020 casino win was down only 4.6 percent from 2019.
The reason: Encore Boston only opened in June of 2019, meaning 2020 was a much easier comparable. The two casinos that were open throughout 2019 relayed just how bad COVID-19 impacted business.
MGM Springfield GGR grossed $137.96 million. That’s down 45.4 percent, or almost $115 million, from 2019. Plainridge Park’s slot machines kept $82.25 million of gamblers’ coin in, which represents a 46 percent decline. or $69.7 million.
Encore Offsets Massive Losses
MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park gaming win in 2020 was down $184.4 million.
Encore Boston helped offset some of the losses, as the Wynn Resorts $2.6 billion integrated resort casino reported GGR of $331.7 million. Encore Boston won $173.9 million in 2019 when it was open for a little more than half of the year.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) continues to limit the three casinos to a maximum operating capacity of 25 percent. The directive is an effort to help slow the spread of COVID-19, which has surged during the fall and winter months.
The capacity limit, however, isn’t turning away would-be visitors. Bruce Band, assistant director of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s Investigations and Enforcement Bureau, revealed last week that patron demand has not resulted in casinos turning gamblers away.
This time of the year tends to be a little slower,” Band explained.
The closest MGM Springfield came to the 25 percent cap was on December 26, when the floor hit 22 percent of its fire code. Plainridge Park’s highest limit was experienced on December 26 and January 8, when 19 percent of its capacity was counted. Encore Boston hit 19 percent New Year’s Day, its highest number in recent months.
The MGC says 147 casino employees have tested positive for the coronavirus since the properties were allowed to reopen in July.
The gaming industry hopes 2021 is a year of recovery, and not another 12 grueling months. The vaccine is here, but will take time to reach the general public.
Along with continuing to be limited to 25 percent capacity, Massachusetts’ three casinos are required since November 6 to close nightly at 9:30 pm. They can resume operations at 5 am.
As a result, Encore Boston has closed its hotel until at least Friday, February 12. MGM Springfield has also shuttered its hotel. No set reopening date has been announced.
When the casino floors are open, guests and employees must wear face coverings, and social distancing is being observed by the rearrangement of slot banks and plexiglass barriers separating table game players. The number of gaming positions at table games has also been reduced.