The Maryland casino sector set a new revenue record in 2018 reaching $1.746bn, up 8.1 per cent from 2017’s $1.614bn.
Slot revenue accounted for almost $1.1bn in 2018, increasing from less than $1bn in 2017 whilst table revenues were up 6.3 per cent to $654m. Five of the six casinos in Maryland saw an increase in revenue during December, with the only exception being the Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore.
During December GGR came in at $148,381,413, up 5.2 per cent compared to a year earlier. The state earned $61m in taxes, including $45m for the Education Trust Fund.
MGM National Harbor continued to lead the market with its December revenue up almost six per cent to $59.9m, while its total GGR over the year was up 15.8 per cent to $705m. The venue has the second highest number of slots in the state at 3,137 and the joint highest number of table games at 198.
In the summer, MGM lifted the curtain on a new $48m expansion, adding a larger poker room, off-track horse betting, an extra 285 slots, a new bar and a fast-casual dining venue.
The largest casino in terms of numbers of games Cordish Gaming’s Live! Casino & Hotel remained in second place both in December and for the year as a whole. Whilst its December GGR increased by six per cent to $50.1m, its 2018 total only increased by 5.5 per cent seeing it lag behind MGM by some distance with GGR of $575.3m. The fight back is underway though with Live! adding a 17-story, 310-room companion hotel to its offering alongside a conference and events center during the summer. Live! operates 3,825 slot machines and 198 table games.
Third place Horseshoe Casino Baltimore didn’t have such a good year. December’s takings were down by 7.2 per cent to $22.2m with November’s even worse with a fall of 14.2 per cent. Its total in 2018 came in at $260m down 4.2 per cent from 2017’s total.
Elsewhere Hollywood Casino Perryville’s GGR was up by 9.2 per cent in December with its 2018 total reaching $6.3m. Its 2018 total reached $75.6m up by $1.3m. Rocky Gap’s GGR increased by 17 per cent in December hitting $4.4m with its yearly total up by just $1m to $54.7m.
Ocean Downs saw the biggest increase in December with GGR surging by 45.2 per cent to $5.4m with the casino benefitting from having developed its table gaming market with table games only launching in November 2017. As a result of the tables, GGR at Ocean Downs increased by nearly 25 per cent due to $75.8m due to the inclusion of 18 table games which generated $7.8m in GGR.
Sports betting isn’t quite on the cards yet for Maryland’s casinos going into 2019. It would require a constitutional amendment which would need to be approved by three-fifths of the General Assembly. It would then need to be passed by a majority of the state’s voters at the next election, in 2020.
Joe Weinberg, a Managing Partner for the Cordish Cos., which owns and operates Live!, said: “Sports betting should be made available exclusively through the regulated casinos in Maryland, where it is best positioned to protect consumers and maximize tax revenues to the state.”