Maryland Casinos Witness 4.7% Revenue Drop Amid Ongoing Decline in Commercial Gambling Industry

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The commercial gambling industry of Maryland reported a substantial 4.7% decline in its income last month, according to data released by The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency. The state’s six casinos earned roughly $161.4 million in August 2023, marking a decrease of nearly $8 million from the same period of the preceding year. This news follows an already negative trend from July 2023 when the casinos’ gross gaming revenue similarly plummeted by over 7%, falling from $174.3 million.

In the face of this decline, MGM National Harbor remained the lead player in the state’s gaming market. The establishment yielded a gross gaming revenue of $68.4 million. Notably, this still signified a year-over-year slump of about 4.8%. Meanwhile, the Live! Casino Hotel Maryland lagged behind as the second-biggest earner, pulling in $55 million, 3.1% lower than the previous August.

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The month proved dire for the Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, operated by Caesars. The casinos’ intake for August dipped almost 11% to a meagre $15.4 million, reflecting the steady troubles encountered by the establishment. Maryland’s three resort-styled, smaller casinos – Ocean Downs, Hollywood Perryville, and Rocky Gap – together accrued around $22.5 million. It marked a reduction of roughly $1 million, or 4.3%, from August 2022’s income.

This double dip of economic downswing marked a distressing pattern of decline for the industry of late. The climax of this slump was in July 2022, a month when the overall rates of casino winnings skimmed to $181.5 million, narrowly avoiding rank as the most disappointing month in the 13-year history of Maryland’s commercial gaming sector.

Pinpointing the reason behind this dramatic downturn is not as simple as one might hope. Unlike regions such as Nevada, Maryland does not categorise its monthly revenue by game, leaving analysts to collate gross gaming revenue by slots and tables. In August alone, the earnings from slots dropped by 3% to yield $109.1 million, while table games slid abysmally, down 8% to save only $52.3 million from the previous generated $56.7 million.

Without information on winning rates per table and terminal, it becomes challenging to discern whether the decline was due to concerning holds for the house or if players were simply gambling less. This trend is certainly not unique to Maryland, as evidenced by the similar declines seen in Atlantic City’s commercial gambling establishments.

Meanwhile, there has been a call for extensive regulatory reviews concerning the state’s online gambling policies. Last month, Maryland’s gaming regulators, with the backing of the state legislature, appealed for an iGaming study to deduce the tax benefits that could be reaped from allowing online casinos. The review is spearheaded by legislators who support online gaming, seeking to garner support from the General Assembly.