Ohio Casinos Experience Record October, Maryland Gaming Nearly Breaks Even

Posted on: November 10, 2020, 09:48h. 

Last updated on: November 10, 2020, 10:56h.

Regional casinos continue to fare well despite continuing to operate at reduced capacities because of COVID-19 regulations.

casinos Ohio Maryland GGR MGM National Harbor
MGM National Harbor led the way in gaming win among Maryland’s six casinos. (Image: Press of Atlantic City)

Few could have predicted what’s happening in Ohio. The state’s four commercial casinos and seven racinos are on a heater. Gross gaming revenue (GGR) in the Buckeye State has now hit record numbers in four consecutive months.

In October, the 11 gaming properties won $169.1 million, an increase of 6.7 percent from October 2019. The haul is the best October in the history of Ohio’s gaming industry. Roughly one-third of gross gaming win is directed to the state in the form of taxes and fees.

The four casinos won $74.8 million, a year-over-year increase of 9.84 percent. The racinos won $94.3 million, a 4.4 percent premium.

Hollywood Columbus was the big casino winner, the Penn National Gaming property reporting GGR of $20.3 million. MGM Northfield Park was the dominate racino, win there also totaling $20.3 million.

Ohio casinos and racinos continue to be limited to a 50 percent operating capacity.

Merry Maryland

October is the month of Halloween. But it was anything but scary for Maryland’s six commercial casinos. Despite also operating at 50 percent capacity, the state’s gaming floors won $142.7 million, a year-over-year decline of less than one percent.

The state’s share was $59.9 million, with $43.6 million allocated for the Maryland Education Trust Fund.

MGM National Harbor once again led the way, the integrated resort casino just outside DC pulling in $56.6 million. However, National Harbor’s October GGR was down 5.5 percent compared with the previous year.

Maryland Live! once again placed second, the casino resort near Baltimore Washington International Airport keeping $49.6 million of patrons’ money. That’s a 4.1 percent bonus on October 2019.

Horseshoe Baltimore GGR came in at $17.3 million. The casino near Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium continues to struggle, its GGR representing a 9.5 percent drop. Horseshoe was the biggest percentage loser last month.

Maryland’s three smaller resort-style casinos — Hollywood Perryville, Ocean Downs, and Rocky Gap — all reported year-over-year revenue increases. Hollywood was up 19.9 percent to $7 million, Ocean Downs 4.2 percent to $6.9 million, and Rocky Gap 10.2 percent to $5.2 million.

Regional Rebound

COVID-19 continues to impede domestic and international travel. For Las Vegas, a city that heavily relies on tourism and conventions, its coronavirus recovery is expected to take far more time than regional gaming markets.

Ohio and Maryland casinos predominantly rely on drive-in business. MGM National Harbor is one exception, as the integrated resort was built with DC business gatherings and exhibitions in mind.

But the gaming reports for October 2020 highlight a regional pent-up demand to gamble in wake of casinos being closed.

Ohio’s casinos and racinos were shuttered in March, and remained closed until June. Maryland’s casinos also closed in mid-March, and resumed operations in June.

Bank of America gaming analyst Shaun Kelley is forecasting regional casino revenues to be down between five percent and 12 percent this year from 2019 levels. Amid an unprecedented modern-day pandemic, that isn’t all that bad.

Las Vegas Strip GGR through September is down more than 40 percent in 2020.