Maryland casinos generated a record-breaking $169.2 million in gaming revenue in March.
Supported by the lifting of COVID-19 capacity restrictions midway through the month, the state’s casinos topped the previous monthly high of $163.3 million, set in March 2019, according to a news release from Maryland Lottery and Gaming.
Over the past year, the state’s casinos have dealt with capacity limitations, social distancing guidelines and closures as the nation grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic. With many of the capacity restrictions for businesses now lifted throughout the state, though, most of Maryland’s casinos are operating with no limitations on the number of patrons who come through the doors. And they are capitalizing on it.
(The exceptions are MGM National Harbor and Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, which are still limited to 50% capacity due to local government policies.)
While the state’s four remaining casinos have no capacity limitations, social-distancing guidelines are still in effect, limiting the number of slot machine and table game seats available for guests.
MGM National Harbor headlines Maryland casinos
As it often does, MGM National Harbor brought in the highest monthly revenue among the state’s casinos. Its total of $66.5 million edged Live! Casino & Hotel, which brought in $61.1 million.
Due to the state’s coronavirus response in 2020, an apt comparison for the gaming revenue figures is March 2019. Coincidentally, that month saw the previous monthly high for state gaming revenue. The March 2021 haul for Maryland casinos represents a 3.6% increase over the 2019 results.
|Casino||March 2021 Gaming Revenue||March 2019 Gaming Revenue|
|MGM National Harbor||$66.5 million||$62.8 million|
|Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland||$61.1 million||$55.9 million|
|Horseshoe Casino Baltimore||$19.8 million||$25.6 million|
|Hollywood Casino Perryville||$8.7 million||$7.2 million|
|Ocean Downs Casino||$7.5 million||$6.6 million|
|Rocky Gap Casino Resort||$5.6 million||$5.2 million|
With the record-breaking month, casino gaming contributions to the state’s coffers totaled $71 million. Specifically, the Maryland Education Trust Fund received $51.6 million.
A significant uptick from January, February 2021
Marylanders are clearly feeling more comfortable visiting their local casino. The March numbers represented a 25% increase from gaming revenue in each of the first two months of 2021.
With capacity restrictions still in full force, the state’s casinos brought in $128.8 million in January and $126.2 million in February, down from their 2020 revenue figures.
Prior to the state’s response to COVID-19 last year, Maryland casinos generated $145.5 million in January 2020 and $151.3 million the following month.
Sports betting legislation looming
Although March represented a high-water mark for the state’s casinos, the future holds more opportunities for gaming operators. After all, sports betting legislation is nearing the finish line.
Maryland’s legislative session ended April 12, and it did so with ample discussion surrounding sports betting legalization.
Maryland House and Senate leaders reached a compromise that should allow sports betting legislation to pass. The Senate passed H 940 on its third reading by a unanimous 47-0 vote.
The House expects to concur when it receives the bill from the Senate.
New language in the legislation would allow up to 60 mobile sports betting licenses and an additional 30 retail licenses. As a result, Maryland would boast the most possible online sportsbooks of any jurisdiction in the country.
Casinos would fall under Class A licenses alongside three horse tracks and any major professional sports teams and stadiums. With a 15% tax rate, legal sports betting in Maryland would certainly provide an uptick for casinos in the state.