In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic brought the hospitality industry to a halt in many parts of the United States. Restaurants, theme parks, and event venues across the country were forced to either close or seriously limit their operations to help stem the spread of COVID-19. Casinos were no exception and, by the end of the year, revenue in American casinos had dropped a whopping 31%–the lowest numbers the industry had seen in nearly 17 years.
Now, a year later, just over half the population has been fully vaccinated against the deadly virus, and businesses in the service sector are seeing a recovery as restrictions relax. In Maryland, those numbers are even higher and casinos have kicked off a financial comeback, despite rough beginnings at the start of the year.
Off to a Rough Start
Compared to 2020, last February 2021 was a nightmare for casinos. Every single Maryland casino reported a significant decrease in revenue from year to year, with Horseshoe Casino having the misfortune of boasting an over 20% decrease. MGM National Harbor managed to lose the largest amount of money, figured at $10,275,824.
While February revenue statistics were certainly not helpful for morale, the numbers were more reflective of the struggles casinos went through in the year 2020 than a look into the potential of the new year. Instead, the success of casinos in August 2021 may give a more accurate look at the economic recuperation many industries felt over this summer.
A Good Year for the House
In total, revenue from the six Maryland casinos decreased by 16.6% from February 2020 to 2021. At the time, four of the casinos were operating at 50% capacity and two were only taking on 25% of their usual business. Now, Rocky Gap is the only casino in the state to have a year-to-year decrease in revenue as of August 2021.
Overall, the six casinos raked in $168,459,348 in gaming revenue during the month of August–a 12% increase from the year prior. Contributions to the state came to $71,284,480, an over ten million dollar increase from 2020. Both the state contributions and the education trust fund saw a 17% climb in the amount of money they received from Maryland casinos in 2021.
Let’s Talk Numbers
MGM National Harbor was able to make a 12.9% revenue increase, pulling $7,714,727 more in 2021 than in August 2020. Hollywood Casino made a good chunk of change at $7,768,635 total revenue, a 14.5% increase for the new year. While Horseshoe Casino’s increase percentage was just 7.2%, the location was able to bring in $18,001,130. Live! Casino and Hotel had them trumped at $59,506,465 though, a $7,037,846 (13.4%) increase from August 2020. Ocean Downs Casino had the greatest percentage increase, with a jump of 29.2% and a $2,228,658 difference from the previous year.
Future Revenue in Sports Gambling
As casinos and state governments alike started to see a decline in revenue in 2020, they scrambled for solutions. For some, the obvious answer was sports betting and there was a rush for states to push new legislation for sports gambling regulation and venues. While sports betting and online gambling have a controversial history in the US, legislators couldn’t risk missing out on the revenue that was going to online casino in Canada and other countries because of the ever-growing popularity of the pastime. Luckily, existing casinos are partnering with operators to bring sports gambling to Maryland.
The state only just voted a sports betting bill into action on April 12th, 2021, but Marylanders will still most likely have to wait until late fall before they can start placing any wagers. Legislators and gamblers are both betting on operators and apps becoming available before the NFL season begins, as it’s poised to be one of the biggest betting events of the year. We’ll keep our fingers crossed, but even if the wait is a little longer there will still be live dealer USA casinos and online games from our local casinos like Live! Casino and Hotel.