Maryland Casino Revenue Cools in September, Win Down Nearly Four Percent

Posted on: October 7, 2022, 09:24h. 

Last updated on: October 7, 2022, 10:58h.

Maryland casino revenue at the state’s six commercial properties fell nearly 4% in September, as players lost $159.3 million to the houses.

Maryland casino revenue GGR gaming
Empty slot machine chairs at MGM National Harbor. Maryland casino revenue cooled off in September 2022 compared with the same month in 2021. (Image: AP)

Maryland is typically among the first states to release its monthly gross gaming revenue (GGR) reports. And with casinos in the Old Line State winning 3.7% fewer gaming dollars in September 2022 compared with September 2021, the data could hint that the national gaming industry is headed toward a cooling period.

MGM National Harbor maintained its lead in Maryland. But GGR for the integrated resort located just outside DC fell more than 8% from a year ago to $63.8 million. Live! Casino & Hotel in Hanover was second on flat year-over-year revenue of $56.8 million.

Horseshoe Casino Baltimore continued its struggles. Caesars Entertainment’s lone property in Maryland reported GGR of $17.3 million, down about 2% from September 2021.

The three resort-style casinos — Ocean Downs in Berlin, Hollywood Perryville, and Rocky Gap — collectively won $21.4 million, a year-over-year decline of about 2%.

National Trend?

US casinos benefited from pent-up demand in 2021 and throughout much of 2022. Gaming revenue numbers in a host of commercial gaming states are operating at levels higher than what the properties experienced before the coronavirus.

Analysts have been waiting for a market cooldown amid record inflation and volatile stock markets.

The labor market is also showing signs of cooling. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday that the country added only 263K new jobs last month. The number of Americans filing first-time unemployment benefits is also at a five-week high.

If unemployment benefits continue to climb, it could be a sign that employers are laying off workers as consumers pull back on spending and the economy grinds to a halt. Other data published this week shows that job openings plummeted to the lowest level since early in the pandemic, indicating that employers are putting hiring on the back burner,” commented Fox Business reporter Megan Henney.

Additional state GGR reports in the coming days and weeks will tell whether the US gaming industry might also look to curb overhead as play wanes.

Casinos Not Recession Proof

The feds are working to prevent a recession, though many believe the country is already amid one after experiencing two consecutive quarters of negative gross domestic product (GDP).

The thinking that casinos are recession-proof began back in the early 1990s when Las Vegas and Atlantic City casinos continued to thrive amid a recession. But casinos being recession-proof has since been debunked.

A 2012 study conducted in the Netherlands at Radboud University found that US commercial gambling revenue between 1959 to 2010 was closely correlated to economic growth.

Casino gambling expenditures show positive growth during expansions and no growth during recessions. Hence, the loss in income during recessions affects casino gambling,” wrote researchers Csilla Horváth and Richard Paap.

Casinos certainly aren’t pandemic-proof. But COVID-19 showed the industry’s resiliency.

Commercial casinos won $43.65 billion in 2019 in what was a record at the time. It was short-lived, as commercial gambling soared to $53 billion last year. The industry is on track to break the revenue record in 2022, but the final quarter lingers.

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