Gambling revenue at Massachusetts’ three casinos was a tick lower in May and generated $91 million in gross gaming revenue (GGR).
Last month’s revenue fell below April and March. March was Massachusetts’ strongest month on record at $102 million in GGR. Massachusetts’ casinos have posted a record $460 million in GGR for the first five months of a calendar year. That total is up 16% from last year’s $385 million.
MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor operate as Category 1 “resort casinos” and pay 25% in taxes on their GGR. Plainridge Park Casino operates as a Category 2 “slots parlor” and pays 49% in taxes on its GGR. Taxes paid to the commonwealth in May amounted to $25.5 million.
Encore Boston Harbor tops the list
It’s no surprise that Encore Boston Harbor tops the list of earnings for the three commercial casinos at $58 million in May. Encore is the largest non-tribal-owned casino in the country. It’s also the largest commercial casino outside of Las Vegas to receive Forbes’ five-star status.
Encore is MA’s newest casino. It opened in 2019 for nine months before COVID-19 shut it down for three months. But that hasn’t hurt business. It took the Encore only one year to return to its pre-COVID numbers.
Since July 2021, it has posted numbers that consistently eclipse pre-COVID-19 GGR. Its record month came in March, when it posted $64.86 million in revenue.
For May, Encore paid $14.5 million in taxes.
MGM Springfield holds steady
MGM Springfield held closer to its stronger April numbers than Encore. May’s GGR was $21.2 million. However, MGM, which opened in August 2018, has not seen a year as strong as 2019.
The year-to-date GGR total of $106 million in 2022 is down 4.5% from 2019’s January-May total of $111 million.
MGM Springfield paid $5.3 million in taxes last month.
Plainridge Park struggles to keep pace
Plainridge Park, which offers only slots and horse racing, has struggled to keep pace with neighboring casinos, particularly Rhode Island’s Twin River Casino. Twin River sits only 12 miles away, and offers slots, table games, a sportsbook and a hotel.
Plainridge Park, which opened in 2015, had its strongest year in 2018. The 2018 January-May GGR was $71.4 million. The 2022 GGR for the same span sits at $58.2 million, an 18% decrease. May’s GGR was $11.7 million. The year started poorly for Plainridge, but since March, it has rebounded. Of the three commercial casinos in MA, however, Plainridge Park has dropped furthest below its 2021 numbers.
For May, Plainridge paid the commonwealth $5.7 million in taxes.
Massachusetts Casino GGR
|Casino||May 2022||April 2022||May 2021|
|Encore Boston Harbor||$58 million||$63.7 million||$52.9 million|
|MGM Springfield||$21.1 million||$22.5 million||$21.2 million|
|Plainridge Park||$11.7 million||$12.9 million||$12.49 million|
|Approximate Total||$91 million||$99 million||$87 million|
MA’s gambling unfazed by nationwide economic woes
These totals show that Massachusetts’ strong gambling community is remaining relatively unfazed by the economic woes facing the nation from inflation, rising gas prices and supply chain shortages. All of these impact the gaming industry, too, but yet, in aggregate, Massachusetts is on pace for a record year.
Plainridge Park is the outlier here. That makes sense when factoring in high gas prices, as a round trip to Plainville from Boston is over 70 miles. There’s no commuter rail services in the area.
Plus, as mentioned above, there’s the competition from Twin Rivers. Proposals to add table games at Plainridge have been presented but have yet to gain traction.