Restrictions At Massachusetts Casinos Lead To Restricted Revenue

Posted on August 24, 2020 - Last Updated on August 26, 2020

For gambling operators in the Bay State, some income is better than none. Still, the Massachusetts casino revenue numbers for July show that things are far from back to normal.

Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park are still under restrictions to protect guests and staff. That, coupled with other factors, led to a less-than-impressive month of business for all three facilities.

The Massachusetts July casino revenue numbers

Altogether, the three facilities reported about $45.3 million in gross gaming revenue for last month. That doesn’t represent a full month of activity, however.

Plainridge Park reopened on July 8. Encore did the same four days later and MGM finished the task of reopening Massachusetts casinos the following day. For that reason, the total only represents about three weeks of business.

The state will collect just over $13.2 million on that revenue. For all parties involved, it’s the first income in about four months. All three facilities closed on March 15 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even with their doors open again, these operators faced continued restrictions on their operations. Those include mandatory face masks for guests and staff along with enhanced spacing between slot machines.

For Plainridge Park, which only offers slots, that reduced capacity played a part in a 38.4% drop in revenue year-over-year. MGM saw a 41.3% drop in the same time frame and Encore was down 44.6% as compared to July 2019.

Why the decline was steeper at Encore and MGM

One reason behind the steeper decline at Encore and MGM is the continued ban on poker and table games. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) declined to allow casinos to resume those offerings on a limited basis last week.

That represents a significant reduction in both casinos’ offerings. Last July, Encore pulled in about 43.6% of its gross revenue from table games, for example.

That’s not the only restriction curtailing revenue right now, however. Continued restrictions on indoor dining and live entertainment are also likely leading to residents in the state spending their entertainment dollars elsewhere.

Until Encore and MGM can offer table games again, it’s fair to expect more reduced revenues. It’s unclear right now when the MGC might alter its policy.

Those commissioners have the unenviable task of trying to balance the safety of everyone involved in the gambling industry with the economic effects of restrictions. For that reason, as the circumstances surrounding the pandemic improve, hopefully so will revenue at the three commercial casinos in Massachusetts.

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Derek Helling

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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