- Massachusetts’ three casinos reported mixed results in May’s revenue totals, with two experiencing dips in their month-to-month totals but the state’s biggest site making a slight jump.
Moreover, numbers released by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission highlight the casino industry’s continued recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, in a month when it returned closer than ever to pre-pandemic operations.
A return to form at Mass. casinos
May’s results told no dramatic stories, as the month was a breath of fresh air for the state’s casinos.
No matter how you slice it, the state’s casinos have regained their form, putting up numbers not seen since before the pandemic struck America.
That said, May revenue numbers released by the MGC show last month was better for Encore Boston Harbor than its two competitors.
Here is how the three casinos faired in May, per gross revenue:
- Encore Boston Harbor: $52.9 million
- MGM Springfield: $21.2 million
- Plainridge Park: $12.5 million in slots; $1.1 million in horse racing
For Encore Boston Harbor, it was the highest revenue amount (total slot and table gross gaming revenue) generated since December 2019, when it brought in just north of $54 million.
It also marked the sixth consecutive month of growth and improved upon the $50.1 million tallied in April.
MGM Springfield, meanwhile, saw a minor decline from April, when $21.9 million was counted in total slot and table GGR.
Still, the money brought in last month at the Springfield casino marks the third consecutive month garnering over $21 million. That hasn’t happened since the casino went above that mark for four consecutive months, from July to October 2019.
Plainridge Park saw a similarly small decline from April to May – dropping less than $22,000 in slots revenue – and has also regained its previous form.
For three straight months, Plainridge Park has seen over $12 million in gross gaming revenue from slots – something not accomplished since mid-2019.
Helping matters, as well, was the return in late April of live harness racing at Plainridge Park’s track, which accompanies the site’s simulcast wagering. The casino’s horse racing fund has collected more than $1.1 million each month since March.
Gaming commission allows near return to normal
More important than anything has been the decision by the MGC to rescind the limitations it placed on casinos in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak. The roll-back took effect on May 29, meaning June’s figures are likely to see a significant jump.
The commission’s decision came in conjunction with Gov. Charlie Baker’s announcement last month that he was lifting pandemic business restrictions.
Casino representatives acknowledged they’d continue to take COVID-19 measures, like offering masks to customers. But this step was a big one.
This time a year ago – from mid-March through June – casinos in Massachusetts were altogether closed.
Now, the light at the end of the tunnel has been reached.
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“This would mean opening up every slot machine, every gaming table, restoring our restaurants to previous occupancy, restoring the occupancy of the gaming floor,” Encore Boston Harbor Senior Vice President Jacqui Krum said just prior to the commissioners’ action.
The move restores entertainment aspects like allowing patrons to drink without sitting and game without being boxed in by plexiglass. The only uncertainty remains the future of poker at Massachusetts casinos; decisions are expected later that year.
But that is small potatoes in the fact of the finish line now reached.
“It’s been 15 months since the Gaming Commission convened with all three casino licensees in a virtual setting to discuss the rapid reach of the coronavirus pandemic,” MGC Chair Cathy Judd-Stein said in a statement.
“The three gaming licensees have cooperated fully throughout this process. Working always to serve the public’s interests and protect their patrons and employees.”