Blistering July Best Month Ever For Massachusetts Casinos

Blistering July Best Month Ever For Massachusetts Casinos
By David Caraviello

July was the best month ever for gambling in Massachusetts, continuing a torrid spring and summer run that has seen players flock to the three commercial casinos in the commonwealth.

Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park combined to amass a state-record $807,913,393 in handle during July, breaking the mark of $724.9 million set in May.

That July figure was up 13% from the total in June, according to figures from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. The three casinos also shattered the state record for combined revenue, collecting $95,737,508, up 13.9% over the previous month, and besting the $86.7 million in May, a record that stood for just two months.

Encore Boston Harbor in Everett, which opened in June 2019, had its best month ever in July. The casino’s handle total of $402,821,178 blew past the previous record of $359,214,147 amassed in August 2019. And its July gross gaming revenue total of $59,070,309 surpassed the facility’s mark of $54,013,175 in December 2019.

Near-Record Revenue Month For MGM, Plainridge

July marked the third time in four months that Massachusetts casinos have combined to set new records for gross gaming revenues, with marks also falling in April and May. Although the industry saw numbers slip slightly in June, they roared back in July, surely aided by the height of summer vacation season and the state’s high coronavirus vaccination rate — 64.7% of residents are fully vaccinated, according to the most recent figures available from the Mayo Clinic.

MGM Springfield also set a record for handle in July, the total of $219,411,891 bettering the previous mark of $215,572,711 set in March. MGM Springfield, which opened in 2018, also enjoyed its third-best month for gross gaming revenues, the $23,714,219 trailing only higher totals set in March 2019 and the record of $26,952,096 from September 2018, the facility’s first full month of operation.

Plainridge Park in Plainville — which unlike the other two Massachusetts casinos, offers only slots and no table games — recorded a July handle of $185,680,322, the facility’s best since March 2019. July stands as one of the five best “coin in” months ever for the casino, which opened in June 2015. Plainridge Park’s July gross gaming revenues total of $12,952,979 was its highest since June 2019. The casino’s revenue record of $18,155,783 was set in July 2015, its first full month of operation.

Industry Thrives As Safety Measures Dropped

The gaming industry in Massachusetts has thrived since the state government lifted protocols that were put in place to limit the spread of coronavirus. The three casinos were allowed in January to return to around-the-clock operations. In May, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted unanimously to end all other coronavirus-related measures, such as seating limits at gaming tables and floor capacity limits.

The vaccination rate in Massachusetts ranks second among U.S. states, trailing only that of Vermont. And despite the presence of the more transmissible Delta variant, the Bay State’s rate of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents is just 18, eighth-lowest in the nation, according to The New York Times.



Veteran journalist David Caraviello covers industry news for

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