Maryland Sportsbook A Bright Spot In Caesars’ Gloomy Q1 Report

Written By Adam Hensley on May 3, 2024 - Last Updated on May 8, 2024
Sun rays coming through dark, gloomy clouds

was a rough first quarter for Caesars Entertainment, which operates a casino and offers sports betting in Maryland. A bright spot, however, in the dismal first-quarter earnings report was in online sports betting, including at Caesars Sportsbook Maryland.

This week, the company reported net revenue of $2.7 billion during the first three months of 2024, down from $2.8 billion in 2023’s first quarter. GAAP net losses totaled $158 million, $22 million more than during the same timeframe last year.

Additionally, Caesars saw its same-store adjusted EBITDA come in at $853 million, down $94 million from the previous first quarter.

Caesars CEO Tom Reeg said during the company’s 1Q earnings call that several factors contributed to the downturn.

“We are not in the habit of delivering quarters that look like this. … If you look at the biggest buckets, this was kind of a kitchen sink-type quarter for us. Everything that could go wrong did for us.”

Caesars reports low hold at tables in Las Vegas

Maryland sports betting began with retail wagering in December 2021. Online sports betting followed about 11 months later. Maryland online casinos remain illegal.

Anthony Carano, Caesars’ president and COO, cited a handful of reasons for the down first quarter.

“We faced several transitory issues during the quarter, including low table hold in our Las Vegas segment and inclement winter weather in our regional segment, plus a loss on the launch of sports betting in North Carolina.”

Reeg said sharp bettors were not the reason for the revenue slide at the company’s tables in Vegas.

“This was not an instance of a few players beating us. This was kind of a repeated butt-kicking, broadly based throughout the quarter.”

Some bright spots in Caesars’ first quarter slump

Carano did mention a few positives with first-quarter numbers. He highlighted sizeable growth in the company’s online casino gaming operations.

“There were several bright spots during the quarter, including record Q1 occupancy in Las Vegas driven by strong visitation, 23% OSB (online sports betting) net gaming revenue growth and 54% iCasino net gaming revenue growth in our digital segment and sequential improvement in operating results in our regional segment each month during Q1.”

Carano added that “regional trends” showed improvement each month.

Reeg shared some optimism as well.

“We are completely comfortable that this reverses over time. You will have quarters that are the reverse.”

Horseshoe Baltimore’s first quarter down from 2023

Caesars has one retail casino in Maryland: Horseshoe Baltimore. While the casino isn’t one of Caesars’ largest operations, it’s still a consistent revenue driver. Unfortunately, like Caesars’ overall casino segment, it had a down first quarter year over year.

All three months generated less revenue than the same months in 2023. For instance, March 2024 is Horseshoe Baltimore’s best revenue month so far this year with $17.3 million. It is, however, still a 4.3% decline from March 2023.

In February, the casino totaled roughly $15 million in revenue, an 8% drop from February 2023’s $16.3 million mark.

The first month in 2024 proved to have the biggest difference from 2023. The Baltimore casino’s revenue was $14.6 million in January, a 17% dip from the $17.6 million in January 2023.

Overall, the first quarter for 2024 resulted in $46.8 million in revenue for Horseshoe Baltimore, a $5.1 million drop from 2023’s first quarter revenue of $51.9 million.

Caesars Sportsbook in Maryland enjoys bump

As Carano mentioned, online sports betting was solid for Caesars in the first quarter. Online sports wagering revenues were up 23% from the first quarter in 2023.

Caesars Sportsbook Maryland enjoyed higher handles in each of the first three months of 2024 than it did in the previous year.

In March, the sportsbook collected $21.4 million in wagers, a little more than an $800,000 bump from March 2023. Maryland bettors wagered $19.4 million through the sportsbook in February, a $3.4 million jump from 2023. In January, Caesars got off to a hot start in Maryland, with a handle of $24.5 million, which was a little more than a $4.5 million jump from the previous January.

March and February of 2024 ended with lower hold percentages than those months in 2023, but the uptick in wagers helped make up the difference.

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Adam Hensley

Adam Hensley is a journalist from Des Moines, Iowa, with experience covering online sports betting and gambling across Catena Media. His byline has appeared in the Associated Press, Sports Illustrated and sites within the USA Today Network. Hensley graduated from the University of Iowa in 2019 and spent his college career working for the Daily Iowan’s sports department, both as an editor and reporter.

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