Massachusetts casinos are not yet generating revenue at pre-pandemic levels, but all three facilities enjoyed a second consecutive month of financial gains, according to numbers released by the state’s gaming commission. The combined January revenue numbers were 15.6% higher than in December.
Encore Boston Harbor in Everett, MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park in Plainville combined to generate $57.606 million in gross gaming revenues in January, an increase from the $49.8 million the three casinos recorded in December 2020. All three casinos posted their best revenue-producing months since October 2020, before operating hours were curtailed by Gov. Charlie Baker due to an uptick in coronavirus cases.
Those limited hours, which entailed a 9:30 p.m. curfew, led to a 33.9% plummet in November revenue for the Bay State’s three gaming facilities. They enjoyed a modest recovery in December with a combined revenue rise of 9.6 percent compared to November. Casinos were allowed to return to 24/7 operations in late January, after a substantial drop in daily coronavirus case numbers.
Among the three casinos, Encore Boston Harbor led the state in January with $33.316 million in gross revenue, $19.627 million of that from slots and $13.668 million from table games. Its handle of $235.194 million was also highest among the three casinos, and an increase from the $196.641 million in December 2020.
MGM Springfield posted the state’s second-highest revenue number in January, collecting $14.498 million, $12.631 million of that from slots and $1.867 million from table games. The casino’s January handle of $155.517 million was up from the handle of $116.506 million in December of last year.
Plainridge Park reported $9.792 million in gross gaming revenue for January, all from slots. The casino’s handle of $130.250 million was also an increase from the $124.620 million in the previous month.
Gaming facilities in Massachusetts still face pandemic-related measured such as a 25% capacity limit on gaming floors, although they have rarely approached that threshold. Yet the two months of revenue gains, combined with a return to around-the-clock operations, are still steps toward normal for an industry that was shut down for more than three months beginning in mid-March of last year.
But for casinos in Massachusetts, it remains an uphill climb toward the kind of revenue they were producing prior to the pandemic. Encore Boston Harbor enjoyed a record month of $54.013 million — almost as much as the state’s three casinos combined in January — in December 2019. MGM Springfield was generating roughly $20 million in monthly revenue before the pandemic struck and Plainridge Park was collecting around $11 million.
The end to the curfew and the continuing vaccine rollout both bring hopes for a strong February, and perhaps another month of gains for Massachusetts’ three gaming facilities. The potential for further recovery is bolstered by a consistent drop in Bay State coronavirus cases, which have been trending downward for weeks.