Even With Encore Boston Harbor, Casino Revenue Down In September

Written By Derek Helling on October 28, 2019 - Last Updated on January 31, 2023
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Last September, Encore Boston Harbor was still under construction. While the gaming industry in Massachusetts overall has been augmented by its presence this year, September casino revenue still left much to be desired.

Revenue at both casinos that were in operation last September was higher, and at Boston Harbor, September failed to be an encore of August. The numbers have all three facilities looking for better returns for the rest of this year.

The raw numbers in September casino revenue

At MGM Springfield, the state’s revenue report for September 2019 shows over $19.88 million. Plainridge Park reported over $11.54 million.

In its third full month of operation, Encore pulled in over $48.95 million. While that was over $3.53 million less than August, it was almost $400,000 better than July.

The theme of a month-to-month decline is consistent. MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park were also down compared with August, 5.2% and 4.5% respectively.

Year-over-year comparisons only get worse. While Encore obviously isn’t a part of that, the numbers at both MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park were far better in the same month of 2018.

September of 2018 set a high bar for casinos to clear

MGM Springfield opened in August of last year, so September of 2018 was its first full month of operation. That month still ranks as the best in the casino’s history, with a revenue of over $26.95 million.

Only March and May of this year have been better months at Plainridge Park than September of 2018 over the past year. The over $14.31 million from Plainridge brought the total casino revenue for last September in Massachusetts to $41.26 million.

With Encore in tow, the total for September 2019 was $80.37 million. If you take out Encore’s contribution, however, that drops to $31.42 million.

While such a decline may not sound like something to fret over, it compounds the narrative that gaming in the Bay State has been overestimated.

Can Encore make up for tax-projection shortfalls?

MGM expected to do $400 million in revenue during its first year in Springfield. The actual figures were far south of that at just over $250 million.

Although September 2018 was a bit of a high bar, a decline of 26.2% year-over-year does nothing to reverse that narrative about Springfield. That may be where Encore comes in.

If Encore can continue to pull in monthly revenue around $35 million to $45 million, that would help the state get to the threshold of gaming tax dollars that it expected to reach with MGM Springfield. It’s too early to make that call just three months into the casino’s life, however.

If Encore’s revenue falls, the narrative that has been written about MGM Springfield could be written about that facility. Future revenue reports will decide that story.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. 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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