The three commercial casinos in Massachusetts had some encouraging news in December to cap a roller-coaster year of 2020.
Those facilities — MGM Springfield, Plainridge Park in Plainville and Encore Boston Harbor in Everett — combined to earn $49.8 million in revenue for December, a 9.6% increase over the $45.4 million from November.
Restrictions on capacity at Massachusetts casinos (temporarily at 25%) have been designed to ward off the spread of COVID-19, which caused casinos around the country to shut down in March. Gaming facilities around the nation have had varying degrees of success in trying to bounce back from the coronavirus. The casinos in Massachusetts also have had reduced operating hours.
Encore Boston Harbor had $29.27 million in revenue for December, an increase of nearly $2 million from the November numbers, according to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s numbers. MGM Springfield increased nearly $1 million, from $10.5 million in November to $11.4 million in December; Plainridge rose about $1.5 million, from $7.6 million to $9.2 million.
Those December numbers, however, were still a long way off from September and October, when casinos were closer to pre-pandemic capacity. Casino revenues in Massachusetts peaked at $70.5 million in September and were still at $68.7 million in October before the latest round of capacity reductions took hold.
As for handle, the casinos in the state combined for $437.8 million in December, 7% higher than November’s total of $409.3 million. Again, those numbers were well short of September ($604.8 million) and October ($606.4 million).
Encore Boston Harbor took in $196.6 million in handle (total slot and table gross gaming revenue) to lead the state for December, an increase of more than $5 million from November. But the big winner by terms of comparison was Plainridge Park (slots only), which jumped from $107.7 million in November to $124.6 million. MGM (slots and table games) rose about $6 million, to $116.5 million.
Encore had handle (coin in) of $2.28 billion and revenue of $332 million for the calendar year. MGM’s handle in 2020 was $1.27 billion and its revenue was $138 million; Plainridge Park drew $1.08 billion in handle and $82.3 million of revenue.
In all, the casinos combined for about $4.6 billion in handle and just over $550 million in revenue in 2020. Encore Boston Harbor opened in June 2019 so no direct comparison is feasible between 2020 and 2019 in the state.
All three casinos were shut down completely in April, May and June plus parts of March and July.