Massachusetts’ Gaming Revenue and Handle Increased in December

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Casinos in Massachusetts ended 2021 on a high note. The state’s three commercial casinos reported a total betting handle of $718.8 million. Massachusetts’ December handle was an increase of 2.2% from its handle in November. Casinos also report an increase in revenue in December. Massachusetts casinos reported a combined total revenue of $95.67 million, an increase of 8.9% from November.

The reported betting handles and revenues set up Massachusetts’ casinos for another big year in 2022. They also dispel concerns about Massachusetts’ decreased revenue in November. December’s revenue total was the third-highest in Massachusetts’ history, falling just short of the $95.98 million record set in October.

Of the three casinos, Encore Boston Harbor led the way. The Everett-based casino nearly doubled the next closest casino’s betting handle. Encore’s December revenue of $62.4 million fell just short of breaking its own monthly record set in October.

Last year as a whole was a bounce-back year for Massachusetts. Both betting handle and revenue were severely impacted by the pandemic in 2020. The state’s casinos reported a total annual handle of $7.7 billion in 2021. Casinos also reported a total yearly revenue north of $1 billion. Encore Boston Harbor again led the way in yearly betting handle and revenue, accounting for nearly half of Massachusetts’ totals in both categories.

A Closer Look at Massachusetts Casino Revenue

Encore Boston Harbor may be the newest commercial casino in Massachusetts, but it is also the biggest. The casino opened in 2019 and features over 200,000 square feet of casino floor space. Since it opened, Encore has led the way in gaming revenue and betting handle among Massachusetts casinos. In December, Encore pulled in $372.4 million in betting handle and $62.4 million in revenue. Slots at Encore generated $31.8 million of the total revenue, while table games earned $30.6 million.

The second biggest commercial casino in Massachusetts is MGM Springfield. It opened in 2018 and features a hotel, movie theatre, and over 45,000 square feet of convention space. The casino also generated the second-highest betting handle and revenue for Massachusetts commercial casinos.

MGM Springfield earned a December betting handle of $189.1 million and totaled $22.2 million in GGR. Slots generated over three-quarters of the GGR, bringing in $16.67 million. Table games on the other hand only created $5.53 million in revenue.

Massachusetts’ smallest commercial casino is the Plainridge Park Casino. On top of being the smallest casino, it also does not offer table games. As a result, it is no surprise that Plainridge generated the smallest betting handle and GGR of the three Massachusetts commercial casinos. Plainridge total betting handle in December was $157.3 million. The slot machines at Plainridge created $11 million in revenue.

A Strong December Embodies Bounce Back of 2021

Massachusetts three commercial casinos experienced a surge in betting handle and GGR to end the year. The end-of-year totals embodied the comeback of the three casinos through 2021. Casinos across the US were hit hard by the pandemic in 2020. Luckily, the industry was able to make a comeback last year, with many states posting record numbers. Massachusetts commercial casinos posted a total betting handle of $7.7 billion in 2021. The total revenue from the three casinos topped $1 billion.

The strong performance of commercial casinos is great news for the state. Massachusetts collects a 25% tax on GGR from Encore Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield. It also collects a 49% tax on GGR from Plainridge Park Casino. Plainridge is only a Category 2 facility, so it is taxed at a higher rate. In total, Massachusetts collected over $280 million in taxes from the three casinos. The tax revenue collected by the Michigan Gaming Commission is used to fund state programs such as education, healthcare, and transportation.

As expected, the majority of Massachusetts’ betting handle was generated by Encore Boston Harbor. The casino generated a betting handle of $3.45 billion in 2021, nearly half the state’s total handle. Encore also earned $634 million in GGR last year. The pandemic forced Encore to close less than a year after opening. The massive numbers in its first full year of operating are encouraging.

MGM Springfield also bounced back in 2021. The casino, located in southwest Massachusetts, earned a yearly betting handle of $2.35 billion. It also created $247 million in GGR throughout 2021. The majority of the revenue was generated by the 2,500 slot machines located throughout the casino floor.

Despite being the smallest of the three casinos, Plainridge Park Casino still put up impressive numbers in 2021. For the year, Plainridge reported $1.94 billion in betting handle. It also earned $139 million in total GGR. Not having table games certainly reduces the revenue generated by Plainridge, but the casino more than held its own in 2021.

Conclusion

Massachusetts’ commercial casinos ended 2021 with a new record-breaking performance. The three commercials in Massachusetts needed a strong performance after the pandemic restricted income in 2020. They more than delivered. In December, Massachusetts casinos combined for a betting handle of $718.8 million.

The three casinos also combined for over $95 million in GGR last month. The state fell just shy of the record-setting month it had in October of last year. While it did not break state records last month, Massachusetts did experience success symbolic of its gaming industry in 2021. December was the third-best month by Massachusetts casinos by many standards.

Throughout the year, casinos generated a total betting handle of $7.7 billion and generated over $1 billion in revenue. Encore Boston Harbor, which opened in 2019, alone reported $634 million in revenue last year.

The reported betting handles and GGRs are great news for Massachusetts. Encore Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield pay 25% of their GGR in taxes. Plainridge Park Casino, which is only category 2, pays 49%. The high GGR numbers mean that many of Massachusetts’ state programs, such as transportation and education funds, will have more money to work with. A strong end to 2021 will hopefully set up the three casinos for even better performances in 2022.