The gamblers keep coming and the revenue records keep falling in Maryland.
For the second time in three months, the six casinos in the Old Line State combined to set a new state record for revenue. The combined May revenue total of $172,394,450 eclipsed the previous record of $169,179,016 set in March, when the state began rolling back coronavirus protocols.
The May total was 13.2% higher than the $152,275,799 collected over the same month in 2019; there is no comparative amount from 2020 because at that time the COVID-19 pandemic meant casinos were closed. Maryland gaming revenue for 2021 stands at more than $1.584 billion, up 27.2% percent from fiscal 2020, when measures to slow the pandemic’s spread led to casino closures from March 16 through June 19.
Among Maryland’s six individual casinos, MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill — in the Washington, D.C., metro area — led the way in May with $68,381,993, an increase of 15.7% over May 2019, as reported by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Commission. Live! Casino and Hotel in Hanover followed with $61,395,302 of May revenue, an increase of 14.8% over May 2019.
Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore collected $19,524,416 in May 2021, a decrease of 5% from its May 2019 total. Ocean Downs in Berlin reported revenue of $8,598,719 in May, 18.8% higher than 24 months earlier. Hollywood Casino in Perryville’s $8,489,379 was 22.8% higher than May 2019 and Rocky Gap Casino in Cumberland reported $6,004,640, an increase of 21.4% from the same month in 2019.
All Maryland casinos feature slot machines and table games. Live! Casino has the most slot machines at 3,206, and MGM National Harbor has the most table games at 200. The May totals continue a revenue surge for Maryland casinos, which in addition to the then-record total collected in March, enjoyed their fourth-best month on record in April with combined revenue of $162,106,366.
Maryland does not yet offer sports betting, but that’s about to change.
Gov. Larry Hogan signed a bill on May 18 legalizing the practice. Live! Casino in April opened a 14,000-square foot sports bar that will become the facility’s sportsbook when legal sports betting launches in the state. Other casinos are also preparing for the arrival of sports betting.
Maryland plans to eventually offer both retail and online sports betting, but brick-and-mortar operations will be rolled out first — perhaps in time for the start of the NFL season, according to state officials. The state will award 17 sports betting licenses, with top candidates including the state’s six casinos, Pimlico and Laurel Park race tracks, and the home stadiums of the Baltimore Ravens, Baltimore Orioles and Washington Football Team.
The Maryland law also allows for up to 60 mobile or online sports betting licensees, though when that wagering option will be available is still unknown. But potential in-person sports wagering offered in time for football season almost certainly means Maryland’s casinos have many more profitable months ahead.