First Full Casino Operations Month in Massachusetts Shows Large YOY Decline

Massachusetts

The three casinos in Massachusetts have been open for over one month now, with August revenue totals showing a decrease in revenues.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has reported the August revenue data for the state’s three casinos. In total, the venues earned around $71 million in revenues, just over 17% short when comparing the same month last year. The gambling venues were shut down for almost four months due to the coronavirus and are now operating at a lower capacity with less amenities.

Recovery Period

The MGM Springfield, Plainridge Park and Encore Boston Harbor reopened in July at a reduced capacity as the virus remains an issue. Several safety measures are in place to help slow the spread of the virus among employees as well as guests of the properties.

MGM Springfield is operating at 1/3 capacity and managed to bring in just over $18.4 million for the month. This was a drop from almost $21 million in August last year. The total was actually the lowest monthly earnings for the facility since the opened.

The casino is operating only 800 of its slot machines, which leaves 1,200 out of order. Because of lesser slot gaming, the casino saw a drop of around 10% when it comes to slot revenues. Table game revenues were down 17%.

Encore saw a significant drop in revenues as well, only earning just over $42 million when they usually bring in over $52 million for the month. Plainridge Park only offers slot gaming and they saw a drop from just over $12 million last year to $10 million this year.

Major Job Loss

When the casinos shut down, the area suffered from furloughs. Employees couldn’t come to work because the venues were shut down. When MGM Resorts opened the Springfield venue, they promised to offer 3,000 jobs. When 2020 began, they had around 2,500, which was short of the initial projections. Right now, the company has only 700 employees working due to lowered capacity allowances and amenities offered.

Laid off employees of the company will continue to receive health care benefits paid for by the company through September 30. Employees will be able to retain seniority so when the jobs are back up and running, these individuals can apply first.

Job loss has been a major issue during the pandemic. Employees were laid off suddenly and while some companies were able to continue providing pay and benefits, others were not. Across the United States, employees in the casino industry remain furloughed with some laid off permanently. Until the casino industry can get back to work at 100% capacity, there will be individuals without employment.

MGM Tries a New Tactic in Las Vegas

Casino operators like MGM Resorts have to think quickly and make smart decisions as they reopen casinos in order to try and make up for lost revenues during the shutdown. In Las Vegas, MGM Resort has waited to reopen its Park MGM property on the Strip. It was announced earlier in the week that the casino will reopen at the end of the month but will be a smoke-free property.

The casino has been closed for six months and along with its NoMad Las Vegas hotel, there will be no smoking at all once the venues are opened back up. The decision to ban smoking at the property was done in conjunction with customer input. According to MGM Resorts’ Las Vegas properties president Anton Nikodemus, there is a recurring guest demand that the casino become a fully non-smoking resort.

While visitors have reportedly made this request, it will still be interesting to see if the non-smoking element affects the bottom line of the property as it will be the only Las Vegas venue to not allow smoking to take place on-site.

Associate Writer: Geoff enjoys both live and online poker as well as casino games, and is particularly knowledgeable about the legal landscape of online gambling.

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