Round-the-clock operations, higher capacity limits, and bettors eager for action — for Massachusetts casinos, it’s a combination that continues to produce figures that are near-record levels.
The Bay State’s three retail casinos enjoyed another robust month in April, with each facility posting handle and revenue numbers that ranked among their best ever, the state reported. The $709 million in combined handle marked the second-best month in Massachusetts gambling history, surpassed only by the $718 million the three casinos took in during March.
Gamblers in Massachusetts have clearly responded to the easing of protocols that had been in place to stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. In late January, retail casinos in the commonwealth were allowed to resume 24/7 operation for the first time since November of 2020. Casinos were also allowed to increase floor capacity to 40 from 25 percent, which came with a reintroduction of craps and the addition of a fourth seat at most table games.
In March, those changes helped Massachusetts’ three casinos — Encore Boston Harbor in Everett, MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park in Plainville — enjoy their best month since before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, which shut down casinos across the United States for several months beginning in March of 2020.
Encore Boston Harbor led the way in April with a combined handle of $336,164,195, according to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission. That was down 4% from a record March but still represented the second-best handle month ever for the facility, which opened in June 2019. Total revenue of $50,182,346 was up 1% over March, and represented the fourth-best revenue month ever for the casino. Slots accounted for $28,991,681 of revenue, with $21,190,664 coming from table games.
It was a similar story at MGM Springfield, whose total April handle of $204,085,780 was down 5.6% from the all-time high recorded in March but was still the second-best handle month ever for the casino, which opened in August 2018. Total revenue of $21,993,551 was down 3% from March, but still represented the facility’s fifth-best revenue month. Slots accounted for $17,652,316 of April revenue, with $4,281,235 coming from table games.
Slots-only Plainridge Park recorded a handle (or coin in) of $169,667,952 in April, up 2.5% from March and representing the casino’s best revenue month since June 2019. The facility’s total revenue of $12,516,260 was up 2% from the month before and represented Plainridge Park’s best month for revenue since September 2019.
The positive April numbers for the three retail casinos in Massachusetts arrived on the heels of month-over-month gains in both February and March. And they came despite casinos still drawing fewer guests than the 40% capacity limits, and poker still not being offered. Gov. Charlie Baker has announced that all remaining COVID-19 restrictions in Massachusetts will be lifted May 29, allowing casinos to once again offer their full schedule of table games and return to full capacity.
Like many other states, Massachusetts has experienced a precipitous drop in coronavirus infection rates this spring. The commonwealth recorded 299 new cases Monday, according to a New York Times database, compared with more than 5,000 per day in mid-January. Forty-seven percent of the state's population has been fully vaccinated, with 63% having received at least one dose, according to data from the Mayo Clinic.