Maryland casinos post 20% revenue growth in January amid new sportsbook market

Maryland casinos raked in about $153 million in gaming revenue in January, according to a report released by the Maryland State Lottery and Gaming Control Agency on Monday. The figure represents a nearly 20% increase compared to the same period last year, although it must be noted venues were operating under capacity restrictions due to COVID-19.

Roughly 40% of those revenues, about $62 million, were contributed to the state’s coffers, an increase of more than $8.5 million -15.8%- compared to the $54 million in contributions to the state posted in January of 2021.

Additionally, the state’s six casinos generated over $45 million for Maryland’s Education Trust Fund (ETF), a figure 16% up from contributions during the same period the prior year. MGM National Harbor placed first for revenue, generating $67 million, nearly 33% more than January 2021.

Live! Casino & Hotel placed in a close second spot with $54.6 million in revenues -up $6.8 million-, while Horseshoe Casino posted $16 million -up $2.3 million-. Hollywood Casino placed fourth with $6.6 million in revenues; Ocean Downs Casino generated $4.9 million, and Rocky Gap Casino placed last with $4.3 million.

While most casinos in the state posted revenue up for the period, in particular MGM National Harbor, which increased figures by almost a third of 2021’s revenues, two venues posted revenue drops: Hollywood Casino, which saw a 2.8% decrease; and Ocean Downs Casino, which posted a 12.3% drop.

The news comes as Maryland still works on launching mobile sports betting, nearly nine months after a state law was passed to allow up to 60 mobile sportsbook licenses. These are to be bid under regulations by the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC), which are yet to be adopted, meaning mobile licenses could be awarded months from now.

Retail sports betting launched in December: sportsbook at MGM National Harbor.

It is unclear so far when SWARC will establish the regulations. The Commission alleges it is actively working on determining a license application process for the mobile permits, which will ensure women and minority-owned businesses will have a stake in the market under requirements from Maryland’s 2021 sports betting law.

In the meantime, Maryland retail sports betting debuted with $16.5 million in handle in December from five casinos, according to the state’s Lottery & Gaming Control Agency. A total of $13.4 million was paid out to winners, leaving the casinos with $3.1 million. Sports betting figures for January are yet to be released.