Maryland Has Record Month after the Grand Opening of MGM National Harbor
Maryland posted its best-ever month in December 2016, as it generated $133.47 million in revenue. The previous record was $104.35 million, for a difference of $29 million.
The driver of the record total was the MGM National Harbor, which collected $41.9 million in only 23 days of operations. MGM National Harbor had its grand opening on December 8, giving Maryland its 6th land-based casino. The records likely are going to fall throughout 2017, since this is the first time the state has had six casinos in its history.
The numbers without the casino, which is located about 10 miles outside of Washington D.C., were significantly below the previous record. Even the numbers for the older five casinos might have been affected by the grand opening, as those casinos might have seen some decline as customers sampled the new resorts and its much-touted amenities.
MGM National Harbor Profile
The MGM National Harbor cost $1.4 billion and featured modern sculptures around its perimeter, including artwork from dozens of modern sculptors — and one 30-square foot metalwork sculpture from Bob Dylan. The complex includes several restaurants by nationally-known chefs and restauranteurs.
The gaming was the key attraction. Throughout its first weeks of operation, the casino was filled to capacity. Traffic congestion had become a local issue, but mass market and high rollers alike appeared at the MGM National Harbor.
Gordon Medinica on Gaming Revenues
Gordon Medinica, the director of Maryland Lottery and Gaming, said in an interview, “We anticipated that December would be a record-breaking month, and we are tremendously enthusiastic about the future of Maryland’s casino program.”
“MGM National Harbor is an outstanding facility in an ideal location, and we are confident that its success will fuel the continued growth of revenue that supports vital state programs.”
Proximity to Washington DC
The location is well-suited to draw tourists and foreign vivitors. Since it is only ten miles from the nation’s capital, it is certain to have a massive influx of foreign visitors every year. Millions of Americans visit the nation’s capital each year for tours of the White House, Capitol Building, Washington and Lincoln Monuments, National Mall, and Smithsonian.
How many historical tourists plan to gamble is uncertain. In the early stages, it appears that a lot of tourists took in a bit of gaming. As Republicans and Democrats alike often lament, Washington D.C. is the home of a huge influx of tax money, as well as a huge bureaucracy and lobbying industry. That money should translate well to high roller gambling, though it might produce a few scandals over the years.
Maryland Live’s Numbers
The Cordish Company casino in Hanover, Maryland Live!, had the best month of the six casinos with $48 million in revenue. Despite beating MGM National Harbor by $7 million, Maryland Live! generated $6 million less in revenue over December 2015, so the new casino had a major impact.
Developers for the two casinos waged a bitter legal and public relations battle in the months and years leading up the MGM National Harbor’s grand opening. The Cordish Company is building a 17-story tower at a $200 million cost to better compete with MGM National Harbour. Maryland Live!’s owners also bought a Hilton Hotel last fall to add more accommodations.
Horseshoe Baltimore’s Numbers
Horseshoe Baltimore, which is owned by Caesars Entertainment, showed a 9% increase in revenues from this time last year. That is an interesting figure, because Horseshoe Baltimore was the other property expected to be most-impacted by the opening of the new casino.
Given its is located in a major city, it might be that the Horseshoe Baltimore is better situated to withstand the loss of costumers than Maryland Live!. In either case, the Washington/Baltimore corridor is now filled with integrated resort-casinos, so Maryland’s gambling sector should see growth in the coming years, assuming a healthy economy.
January 2017 Maryland Casino Revenues
Biz Journals reports that the Maryland casino revenues for January 2017 were $126.2 million, which is a 42% increase over January 2016. MGM National Harbor had the highest revenues with $48.8 million, so January was the first time MGM National Harbor led Maryland casinos in revenue stats.
Maryland Live Casino collected $44 million in January 2017. That is an 15% from the $52 million collected in January 2016. Horseshoe Casino Baltimore had a similar decrease (14.5%) from January 2016, as it collected a little over $20 million in January 2017. Hollywood Casino Perryville generated $5.8 million in revenues, Rocky Gap Casino Resort had in $3.7 million in winnings, the Casino at Ocean Downs generated $3.7 million in winnings. Each represented a 10% to 12% decline in their revenues from the same time last year.
Executives from Maryland Live! Casino and the Horseshoe Casino Baltimore each said they expected a similar decline over the next few months, though they each expect to see their numbers return to close to their 2016 revenues once the newness of MGM National Harbor wears off. Each expects casino visitors who live near their establishments to try MGM National Harbor, then eventually settle on the casino nearer to their homes.