Maryland’s young casino trade continues to chalk up big numbers, as its sixth (and last) property – the MGM National Harbour – readies for launch.
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he gaming industry in the US state of Maryland continues to thrive – as the latest figures published by the state’s Lottery and Gaming Control Agency show that casino revenue for the month of August exceeded $100m (E89m) for the fourth time this year.
Between them, Maryland’s five casinos generated $100.3m in income in for the period ended August 30. Of that net total, the state’s largest casino – Maryland Live! – contributed more than half: with the property enjoying a 7.3 per cent like-for-like increase in revenue to $55.9m (E49.7m).
The Horseshoe Casino Baltimore was the second-highest earner, with revenue relatively static (up just half a percentile) at $27.7m (E24.7m). Meanwhile the state’s smaller contenders – the Ocean Downs, the Rocky Gap and the Hollywood Casino Perryville – all announced income well below the $10m (E8.9m) mark. The Hollywood Casino was the only property in state to suffer a comparative loss: with its August haul of $5.9m (E5.3m) nearly 10 per cent behind its takings for the month last year (continuing a four-month period of consecutive like-for-like decline).
April saw the five Maryland properties push their combined takings past the $100m milestone for the very first time – a feat that was repeated in both May and July.
Meanwhile, work continues on a sixth (and final) Maryland casino – the MGM National Harbor (artist’s rendering pictured). The $1.3bn (E1.2bn) development, positioned on the banks of the Potomac River near Washington DC, is scheduled to open this December. Slated to offer over 135,000 square-feet of dedicated gaming space, MGM’s latest US venture will also include a 21-story hotel.
Not to be outdone, Maryland Live! owner the Cordish Companies has dedicated $200m (E178m) to expand its own hotel facilities – work on which gets underway next week. The new 17-story building is to include a conference centre and 1,500 seat entertainment theatre, as well as spa and F&B amenities.
As Maryland Live! is the closest competing property to the National Harbour, a December 2013 report conducted by consultancy firm Cummings Associates predicted that it would take the hardest hit upon the new property’s opening. The paper said that the MGM site would poach roughly 16 per cent of its competitor’s earnings in its first year of operation.
Nevertheless, Maryland Live! management has been publicly dismissive as to the potential impact of MGM’s entry into the market.
“Will our customers go down there and try the new casino? I absolutely expect them to go down and try it,” the casino’s president Rob Norton told the Washington Post in June. “[But] I equally expect that they’ll be back for the great service that we give them.”