Casinos are one of the big attractions Maryland has to offer and even though there are only half a dozen to pick from, they are worth checking out for those either visiting or living in the state.
Hollywood Casino Perryville was the first casino to open in the state – it recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary – while the most recent Maryland casino to have opened is Oxon Hill’s MGM National Harbor, which was built just a few years ago.
The coronavirus crisis has had a big impact on casinos all over America, of course. Most casinos in the country are back open again now – though dozens are still shut – but the prospect of a second wave means it is an exceptionally tough time for the industry.
Let’s take a look at how the six casinos in the state of Maryland have been coping.
Casinos still popular despite COVID-19 measures
Maryland’s casinos have seen their capacity cut by 50 percent as part of social distancing measures that have been introduced in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
But $149,549,000 was generated in gaming revenue by casinos in Maryland during August, which is a drop of just three percent on the data that was recorded in the same month last year.
Casinos in Maryland were shut in March and it was three months until they were given the green light to reopen. They remain popular, however, with MGM National Harbor recording the highest gaming revenue at close to $60 million for August 2020.
Data shows that two of the other Maryland casinos, Hollywood Casino and Rocky Gap Casino, actually saw an increase in their August 2020 revenues when compared to a year ago.
Could online casinos start taking over?
Online casinos offer generous perks. It’s surprising that wasn’t enough for online casinos to take a significant portion of Maryland physical casinos market share.
Right now online casino gambling is not legal in Maryland, but this could change in the future. When US brick and mortar casinos had to close earlier in the year because of the coronavirus crisis, players who like games such as roulette and blackjack headed online instead.
Bonuses, promotions and rewards tend to be a lot better at online casinos when compared to their land-based equivalents, which could tempt a lot more people to play online.
Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan supports the legalization of sports gambling for the primary purpose of funding education, so the future in Maryland could be with online casinos.
How Maryland casinos have changed in 2020
Naturally, things are not quite the same at Maryland’s casinos after they reopened. Social distancing measures have had to be put in place at all of them, cutting the number of table games and slot machines that are available.
For example, at Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, the capacity has been cut from almost 7,000 people to just under 3,500. In order to enable people to be safely spaced out inside the casino, every other slot machine has been switched off, while cleaning will be done every four hours.
In an interview with WBFF, the casino’s general manager Randy Conroy explained hand sanitizer is available throughout, with the number of seats at table games also cut in half.
“All customers coming through the entrances will be required to go through a temperature scan. Every guest must wear a mask and that will be a requirement when they’re inside the building,” he said. “Gaming chips, typically we might clean them once a year, but we’re going to clean and disinfect them every day. Anytime a person touches the dice at a craps game someone will disinfect the dice before a person shoots them.”
Similar moves have been made at the other casinos across the state of Maryland, but the fact gaming revenues have not seen a major dip suggests that guests have accepted the measures.
Planning ahead is also taking place at some facilities. Maryland Live! Casino & Hotel is creating a new Sports & Social dining and entertainment venue, with $12 million spent on the project.
While it is not expected that Sports & Social will be ready to open up for around a year, it shows casinos in Maryland remain positive about the future, despite the vast impact of the coronavirus.