Mass. casinos returning to pre-pandemic revenue levels
Encore, MGM set records; Plainridge tops in slots
THE STATE’S THREE gaming facilities reported strong revenues in July, with the numbers at Encore and MGM Springfield returning to pre-pandemic levels and the Plainridge Park slots facility trending in the same direction.
The best way to compare slot revenues is on a per machine, per day basis. Slot revenues, in general, can fluctuate wildly and for some very good reasons. Some months are 30-days long, some are 31, and one is 28 days in length. Also, the number of machines in operation at a given facility – as we have seen in the past year – can fluctuate wildly, whether through pandemic-related restrictions, casino renovations, or other causes. By breaking the slot revenue down into a per machine per day basis, we have a uniform standard which we can use to evaluate performance at different venues for different time periods.
The gaming industry views $300 per machine per day as the target for successful operation of a gaming venue. Anything below $300 is cause for concern and $200 per machine per day may be an indicator of a saturated gaming market. All of the Massachusetts casinos easily met the $300 mark in July.
Plainridge Park was the clear winner in Massachusetts with $479.72 per machine per day for the month of July, which is a 2.7 percent increase over June’s numbers. Plainridge saw its slot handle (the amount of money that patrons put into machines) rise by $23.6 million and slot revenues (slot handle less amounts paid to winners) rise by $1.6 million.
Encore Boston Harbor saw its monthly slot revenues increase by $4.6 million to $33.96 million, which translates to a per machine per day number of $404.05, an 8.52 percent increase over last month. Slot handle also increased by a whopping $54.7 million. Table game revenue also increased by $1.9 million. Total gaming revenues at Encore Boston Harbor were $59 million. July showed the highest monthly slot revenues and highest total revenues since the facility opened in June 2019.These numbers are very encouraging and, with the exception of last month’s soft numbers, indicate an upward trend at all three facilities. Revenues at Encore and MGM Springfield revenues have returned to pre-pandemic levels, and Plainridge Park seems to be trending in an upward direction as well. Let’s keep a close eye on this vital sector of the Commonwealth’s economy.
Paul DeBole is an assistant professor of political science at Lasell University in Newton.