After dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic for almost a year, it seems that it is going to take forever to get back to some sense of normalcy. Businesses continue to struggle as patrons are either not visiting or capacity limits are so low that it doesn’t make a difference if the venue is full. For casinos across the US, it has been quite difficult to pull in solid revenue numbers due to capacity restrictions. However, in Massachusetts, casinos recently saw an uptick in monthly earnings. While it is a positive for the industry, casinos are still nowhere near the pre-COVID-19 earning totals.
A Come Back
The three commercial casinos in Massachusetts were able to enjoy a nice rebound last month. The state Gaming Commission recently released the monthly details. The numbers come at a time when the state has switched to a 25% occupancy rate, a rule that will be in place until at least January 24.
Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield, and the Plainridge Park Casino are the only three in operation in the state. In December, the trio earned about $50 million. This is an increase of around $5 million from November. While this number is promising, we do expect the January totals to be lower due to the 25% capacity rating. The casinos made the switch on December 26.
Encore Casino was the big earner, bringing in just over $29 million for the month. This was a nice increase of around 7% from the previous month. For MGM Springfield, the casino earned just over $11 million. This was a larger increase of 8.5% from November.
For Plainridge Park, the casino earned $9.2 million. This was a whopping 20% more than in November when only $7.6 million was generated. Plainridge Park only offers slot games, so they cannot enjoy the benefit of table game earnings.
Will Crowd Capacity Matter?
Since changing to 25% capacity due to an increase in COVID-19 cases, will it negatively affect the casinos in the state? it is hard to tell, but it does seem that the operators are not even functioning at the higher rate when it was an option.
At the end of December, players at MGM Springfield came in at around 22% capacity. It even dropped to around 19% at times. Is this because players are not traveling here or for some other reason? Consumers seem to be split on how they feel about the coronavirus.
Some people are comfortable being out and about, shopping, and taking part in entertainment options. For others, it is not that easy. Many people do not feel comfortable being around others, even while wearing a mask or social distancing. The fear of contracting the virus is too great. The lack of feeling secure could be what is holding people back from taking part in casino gaming at the Massachusetts venues.
We shall see by the end of February just how the casinos were impacted by the capacity change. Will it have a major effect on revenues? Or will things seemingly be the same? Once the reports are out, we will provide insight as to how these casinos are faring amidst strict COVID-19 protocols.