December gaming revenues show promise

LAST WEEK’S REVENUE REPORT from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission suggested the state’s casinos are doing pretty well, given the many restrictions imposed by COVID-19.

Monthly slot revenues for the Commonwealth’s two category 2 casinos showed modest increases, with Encore Boston Harbor posting a 3.9 percent increase over November’s numbers, and MGM Springfield showing a 9.51 percent increase. Plainridge Park, the state’s lone slots-only facility, reported a 20.77 percent increase in monthly slot revenue.

November v. December 2020

Slot Machine Revenues (per machine per day)

Gaming Venue December 2020 Slot Revenue November 2020 Slot Revenue % Change
Plainridge Park 9,173,051.06 7,595,273.47 20.77%
MGM Springfield 9,365,399.05 8,551,756.72 9.51%
Encore Boston Harbor 16,098,219.50 15,494,421.88 3.90%

But we need to look at the per-machine-per-day revenues to correct for the extra day in December (a 31-day month versus a 30-day month for November); and the fact that, after November 6, all gaming facilities were in operation for less than 24 hours per day Plainridge Park was open for 14.5 hours per day, MGM Springfield was open for 13.5 hours per day, and Encore Boston Harbor was open for 12 hours per day.

November v. December 2020

Slot Machine Revenues (per machine per day)

Gaming Venue December 2020 Revenue (pmd) November 2020 Revenue (pmd) % Change
Plainridge Park 642.26 470.18 36.60%
MGM Springfield 481.78 390.52 23.37%
Encore Boston Harbor 570.34 472.71 20.65%

When you look at that those numbers, Plainridge Park’s per machine per day slot revenue increased by an astounding 36.6 percent over the month of November, with MGM Springfield showing an impressive 23.37 percent increase and Encore Boston Harbor posting a 20.65 percent increase. MGM Springfield’s table game revenues increased by 3.59 percent, while Encore Boston Harbor showed an 11.13 percent increase.

Meet the Author
Assistant professor of political science, Lasell University

The numbers themselves are equally as good. The casino industry has set the level for success at $300.00 per machine per day. All three facilities beat that number, and if the trend continues, that would be a good sign for Massachusetts casino operators and for the New England region.

What do these numbers mean? It is too soon to tell. Casinos usually show increases in gaming revenues during the month of December, with steady decreases in January and February. Revenues usually increase significantly in March as we move from winter to spring and weather becomes less of a factor. However, these numbers could indicate a demand for gaming opportunities in the midst of the pandemic, where convenience gambling rather than a resort casino experience might be more in tune with what patrons are seeking during these extraordinary times. Obviously, we would expect these numbers to increase as more people are vaccinated and hours of operations increase.

Paul DeBole is an assistant professor of political science at Lasell University in Newton.

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