Maryland Casinos Hit Hard by COVID-19 as New Restrictions Cut into Profits

All across the United States, an increase of COVID-19 cases is occurring. Due to the increase, hospitals are becoming overwhelmed and government officials have to make hard decisions to close businesses once again or put more restrictions in place to protect the people. In Maryland, a new surge in cases has caused tighter restrictions which has put a strain on the casinos operating in the state. A reduced win was seen last month due to these restrictions.

Low Revenue Totals

The six casinos operating in Maryland brought in a total of $130.3 million in gross gaming revenue for November. This is a decline of 7.4%, which is a decrease of over $10 million when compared to the same month last year.

Because the casinos are earning less money, the state is receiving less in taxes. Contributions to the state dropped by over $5.2 million with only $53.7 million provided. Revenues from gaming taxes is placed in the state’s Education Trust Fund, so less money means a cut in programming.

MGM National Harbor was the biggest earner for the month, bringing in $55.3 million. The casino was one of just two in the state to see an increase last month when compared to November 2019. Live! Casino came in second with earnings, bringing in $45 million. Unfortunately, this was a 15% drop from last year.

For the Hollywood, Ocean Downs and Rocky Gap Casino, they all brought in just over $14 million in casino win. Unfortunately for the last casino in the state, the Horseshoe Casino is still struggling. The property owned and operated by Caesars Entertainment had to reimplement COVID-19 measures last month. This resulted in an all-time monthly low of $15.2 million.

Capacity Limits Increased

In Maryland, the increase in COVID-19 cases, caused Governor Larry Hogan to order restaurants and bars to close at 10pm when it comes to dine-in options. This applies to casinos as well that offer dining. Capacity limits for casinos have dropped, going from 75% to 50%.

Even with this change, the number of cases continue to increase. It appears as though residents in the United States have gotten some sort of fatigue or compliancy when it comes to the virus.  Mask wearing and social distancing is still an issue, so the case counts continue to increase.

The Horseshoe was actually ordered to reduce capacity to 25% as it was located in a hot spot. The directive began on November 12 which played into the casino’s revenue shortage.

The outlook is not so good for Maryland casinos as the restrictions are still in place. It will be many months before revenues turn around as the virus continues to require smaller crowd sizes, masks, and other precautions. Many people still do not feel comfortable traveling outside the home due to fear of contracting the virus.

Other casinos across the US are facing similar revenue reports. Until a solution can be provided for the virus, it will be quite a while before any casino is able to see a huge turnaround in gaming revenues.

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Rebecca
Rebecca lives in Las Vegas and after completing her degree at Reynolds Journalism school joined the USGS team to pursue her journalism dreams.