The MGM National Harbor Casino is considered to be a Washington DC site, however it is actually an addition to the growing number of Maryland casinos seeing as it is, technically, located in Prince George’s County, Maryland. The nearly $1.5 billion casino opened its doors barely a week into December, and in the short timeframe from then to now, it has helped the state of Maryland shatter all previous single month revenue performances.
According to the Baltimore Sun, Maryland casinos raked in a record $133.5 million during the month of December. The previous record for revenue across the state in a single month was a little more than $104 million, which was set this past May.
For perspective, the $41.9 million that the National Harbor brought in during its 21-day existence was beaten by only one other Maryland casino, Maryland Live. Maryland Live brought in about $48 million in December. While this might sound like a fantastic figure, it was actually more than 10% worse than what was brought in during December of 2015. Some might look at that and point to a slowing of Maryland’s casino industry, but such is clearly not the case seeing as Horseshoe Casino in Baltimore saw its revenue increase by more than 9% month over month.
In fact, Maryland Live’s 11% year over year revenue decline can likely be explained by visitors that live in or around Washington DC trying out MGM National Harbor instead of driving more than an hour to the Arundel Mills area. With that being said, you might begin to think that perhaps Maryland Live’s days are numbered. Such is not the case, say experts who believe that while Live may see short-term revenue declines thanks to the opening of National Harbor, the longer-term outlook on Maryland casinos is quite positive.
Alan Woinski, of Gaming USA Corp., commented on December’s revenue figures by saying, “The results were pretty much what I expected — they grew the market by about 30 percent. The decline at Maryland Live was pretty much what it was when Horseshoe opened, below 15 percent. My guess is eventually both are going to find their niche. MGM will be more the destination resort.”
Maryland Live is no stranger to losing revenue thanks to the opening of a new casinos. When Horseshoe in Baltimore opened a few years ago, its initial months in business resulted in declining revenues at Maryland Live. As you could have probably guessed, things ended up stabilizing and both casinos were able to coexist; successfully so.
The hope is that this coexistence of Maryland casinos will continue into the future. Though Maryland now has 6 casinos, all of them are located quite close to each other thanks to the somewhat odd shape of the state and where large population centers are situated. Many thought that this is a situation that would see some casinos die while others would thrive, we are seeing a state industry that is, by and large, thriving together. Whether or not more casinos enter the fray in the future, the overriding hope is that Maryland continues to grow the gambling footprint on the East Coast. After all, it seems as though Atlantic City’s time of regional domination is coming to an end.