Ocean Downs Casino Absent From Churchill Downs’ Q1 Earnings Call

Written By Steve Schult on April 26, 2024
A picture of a man covering his mouth for a story about how Ocean Downs Casino wasn't mentioned during the CDI Q1 earnings call.

Churchill Downs’ earnings call recapping the first quarter of 2024 was filled with optimism and solid revenue numbers.

Company executives spoke highly about their business prospects in several southern states, including Virginia, Kentucky, and Indiana. However, there was no mention of their prospects in Maryland.

Churchill Downs owns Ocean Downs Casino in Berlin. It’s one of six brick-and-mortar casinos in the Old Line State.

When you look at Ocean Downs’ market share, it’s clear why the company may lack exuberance.

Ocean Downs only has 4% market share so far this year

Geography could easily play a role in this, but Ocean Downs hasn’t gained any significant market share in Maryland.

Prior to Maryland’s casino legalization in 2008 and expansion in 2012, Ocean Downs was just a harness racetrack. Then, Churchill Downs obtained a casino license and expanded the facility to include traditional casino games.

But the market is dominated by MGM National Harbor, Live! Casino & Hotel and Horseshoe Baltimore. All three of those casinos are located near major cities. Live! and Horseshoe are in or just outside Baltimore, while MGM is just outside Washington, D.C.

On the other hand, Berlin is located in a more remote area of the state, just outside Ocean City. It lacks major interstates and is a nearly three-hour drive from Baltimore.

Ultimately, this is one of the factors that led to Ocean Downs’ 4% market share so far in 2024.

Month Ocean Downs Casino Revenue Total MD Casino Revenue Ocean Downs Casino Market Share
January $6.1 Million $153.2 Million 3.9%
February $6.4 Million $159.2 Million 4%
March $7.5 Million $178.1 Million 4.2%
Totals $20 Million $490.5 Million 4%

By comparison, those top three combine for about 87% of the market share.

Despite lackluster revenue, CDI opposes online casino legalization

Even with a grim outlook for brick-and-mortar revenue, Churchill Downs Inc. is one of two casino owners to oppose Maryland online casino expansion.

The other is The Cordish Cos., which owns Live! Casino & Hotel. Both groups sent representatives to committee meetings to testify against legislation introduced this year to legalize online casinos.

They cited online’s possible cannibalization of brick-and-mortar jobs as their main argument against the expansion.

Despite opposing Maryland’s expansion, Churchill Downs owns and operates an online casino in Pennsylvania. The revenue from its endeavor in the Keystone State was also absent from the call.

Photo by PlayMaryland
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Steve Schult

Steve Schult has covered the gambling world for the last decade. With stints as a staff writer for the World Series of Poker and Bluff Magazine, as well as the online content manager for Card Player Media, the New York native covered high-stakes poker tournaments and the overall casino industry. He’ll shift most of his focus to the Virginia, Maryland and Florida markets as a managing editor for Catena Media.

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