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Mass. Casino Revenue Rebounds, Even Without Encore Boston Harbor Numbers

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Revenue reports for April 2019 showed a downturn for Massachusetts casino revenue. May 2019's reports showed improvement. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission requires MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park casinos to file monthly revenue reports. The latest numbers are good news for the casino industry in the state. Massachusetts casino revenue details for May Gross gaming receipts for MGM in May 2019 totaled over $22 million. About 73%, over $16 million, of that revenue came from slot gaming. The other $6 million came from table games. Plainridge's slots pulled in nearly $15 million in May. Though both facilities have to file monthly reports with the commission, they pay different tax rates. The state-licensed MGM as a resort casino. Plainridge's license is for operation as a slot parlor. Plainridge pays a much higher tax rate because of that designation. May tax revenue from MGM and Plainridge Plainridge pays a 40% rate on its slot take to the state and another 9% to the state's Horse Racing Development Fund. Eighty-two percent of those tax funds are distributed to local aid. MGM pays a 25% rate on its gross receipts. That revenue divides up a dozen different ways, including education and local aid. The total tax revenue from MGM and Plainridge for May was $12.7 million. That number is an improvement from the previous month. April's diminished returns for Massachusetts The revenue and tax numbers for both facilities in April left a little to be desired. MGM reported gross receipts of $21.8 million. May's numbers improved by 2.2%. MGM's table games actually took in more in April ($6.3 million) than in May ($6.1 million), but its slots were down $700,000. Plainridge's slots were down $800,000 (4.8%) in May as compared to April. Those decreased revenues led to a difference of $400,000 (5.5%) in taxes paid. Looking at all the numbers for 2019 gives a better context for how both facilities have performed. Cumulative revenue for 2019 through May Through the first five months of 2019, MGM reports gross gaming receipts of over $111 million. The average monthly revenue is just over $22 million. Plainridge has pulled in $70 million in gross receipts in 2019. That averages $14 million per month. Looking at the averages, May was as good as any other month so far this year if not a little better. The tax revenue numbers could be improving soon. What about Encore Boston Harbor? Encore Boston Harbor just opened days ago, so a revenue report won't be filed until September for July's receipts. Even then, that report won't tell much about how the new casino is performing. The first report spanning a full month from Encore won't be available until October when receipts for August are filed. At that time we'll get some idea of how Encore is faring and how having new competition has affected MGM and Plainridge. Naturally, revenue at all three facilities could increase if Massachusetts sports betting became legal. When that could happen is anyone's guess, as the Massachusetts legislature seems unmotivated to make sports betting in Massachusetts legal anytime soon, although there is a hearing scheduled this week. May for MGM and Plainridge wasn't a banner month, but it was an improvement from April and par for the course for 2019.

Revenue reports for April 2019 showed a downturn for Massachusetts casino revenue. May 2019’s reports showed improvement.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission requires MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park casinos to file monthly revenue reports. The latest numbers are good news for the casino industry in the state.

Massachusetts casino revenue details for May

Gross gaming receipts for MGM in May 2019 totaled over $22 million. About 73%, over $16 million, of that revenue came from slot gaming. The other $6 million came from table games.

Plainridge’s slots pulled in nearly $15 million in May. Though both facilities have to file monthly reports with the commission, they pay different tax rates.

The state-licensed MGM as a resort casino. Plainridge’s license is for operation as a slot parlor. Plainridge pays a much higher tax rate because of that designation.

May tax revenue from MGM and Plainridge

Plainridge pays a 40% rate on its slot take to the state and another 9% to the state’s Horse Racing Development Fund. Eighty-two percent of those tax funds are distributed to local aid.

MGM pays a 25% rate on its gross receipts. That revenue divides up a dozen different ways, including education and local aid.

The total tax revenue from MGM and Plainridge for May was $12.7 million. That number is an improvement from the previous month.

April’s diminished returns for Massachusetts

The revenue and tax numbers for both facilities in April left a little to be desired. MGM reported gross receipts of $21.8 million. May’s numbers improved by 2.2%.

MGM’s table games actually took in more in April ($6.3 million) than in May ($6.1 million), but its slots were down $700,000.

Plainridge’s slots were down $800,000 (4.8%) in May as compared to April. Those decreased revenues led to a difference of $400,000 (5.5%) in taxes paid.

Looking at all the numbers for 2019 gives a better context for how both facilities have performed.

Cumulative revenue for 2019 through May

Through the first five months of 2019, MGM reports gross gaming receipts of over $111 million. The average monthly revenue is just over $22 million.

Plainridge has pulled in $70 million in gross receipts in 2019. That averages $14 million per month.

Looking at the averages, May was as good as any other month so far this year if not a little better. The tax revenue numbers could be improving soon.

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What about Encore Boston Harbor?

Encore Boston Harbor just opened days ago, so a revenue report won’t be filed until September for July’s receipts. Even then, that report won’t tell much about how the new casino is performing.

The first report spanning a full month from Encore won’t be available until October when receipts for August are filed. At that time we’ll get some idea of how Encore is faring and how having new competition has affected MGM and Plainridge.

Naturally, revenue at all three facilities could increase if Massachusetts sports betting became legal. When that could happen is anyone’s guess, as the Massachusetts legislature seems unmotivated to make sports betting in Massachusetts legal anytime soon, although there is a hearing scheduled this week.

May for MGM and Plainridge wasn’t a banner month, but it was an improvement from April and par for the course for 2019.

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Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Kansas City, Mo. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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