Casinos in Maryland will see the game disappear in February 2023

Posted on: March 7, 2023, 11:00 am.

Last updated on: March 7, 2023, 11:36 am.

Casinos in Maryland won a record amount from gamblers in 2022. The six commercial properties started 2023 strong, but experienced a slowdown last month.

Maryland casinos gaming income sports betting
Horseshoe Casino Baltimore’s gaming floor is pretty empty. Casino revenue in Maryland fell in February 2023, but the health of the state’s gambling industry remains healthy. (Image: Baltimore business magazine)

Gaming revenue provided by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency reveals that the casinos won $157 million in February 2023. That’s down 3.6% year-over-year or down about $5.9 million from February 2022.

MGM National Haven, Live! Casino & Hotel, Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, Ocean Downs Casino, Rocky Gap Casino Resort and Hollywood Casino Perryville won over $2 billion in 2022 from their slots and table games. Last year’s record sales represented an improvement of nearly 7% year over year.

Maryland Casino Earnings

  • $2.05 billion — 2022
  • $1.92 billion — 2021
  • $1.22 billion — 2020
  • $1.75 billion — 2019
  • $1.74 billion — 2018
  • $1.61 billion — 2017
  • $1.20 billion — 2016
  • $1.09 billion — 2015

MGM National Harbor, the market leader in Maryland, opened its doors in December 2016. The integrated resort managed by MGM Resorts led the way last year with a GGR of $884.4 million.

2023 Delay?

Maryland casinos continued their run into the new year in 2022 with a prosperous January. Gross gaming revenue (GGR) totaled just under $167.3 million — an 8.8% gain from January 2022 that kicked off the state gaming industry’s record campaign.

The state-owned gambling industry managed to weather ongoing inflation and economic worries, but the more than 12-month rally finally slowed in February. National Harbor reported a nearly flat GGR of $65.6 million, down 0.4% year-over-year.

Live! Casino, the second richest casino in Maryland, saw GGR fall more than 6% to about $55.7 million. Horseshoe Baltimore’s year-over-year decline was even bigger with an 8% drop to $16.3 million.

The state’s three resort casinos collectively won about $19.4 million — down about 3%. Ocean Downs was the only casino in Maryland to report a 3.7% annualized GGR gain in February 2023. Churchill Downs Inc. owned and operated the casino and won $6.8 million.

February 2023 had the same number of weekend days – eight – as February 2022. No significant weather could be cited for the gaming regression last month.

Advantage for sports betting

Should the February casino trend continue into March and through 2023, some of the similar year-over-year losses will be partially offset by the addition of online sports betting.

Professional and college sports betting in the Old Line State began in person at the state’s casinos in December 2021. Online sports betting, which Marylanders also approved by referendum in November 2020, did not begin until mid-November 2022.

In December, online sportsbooks accounted for more than $478.2 million of the $497.2 million wagered on sports. Oddsmakers said they hold nearly $85.2 million of the bets at a strong 17%. Online books won $82.3 million.

Online sportsbooks continue to compete for market share with substantial promotional incentives for new customers. The December handle included more than $70.9 million in free bets.

Gamblers tend to place free bets on events with longer odds than they otherwise would with their own money. That led to the significant hold rate.

Promotional betting slowed in January as gamblers eager to bet online legally used many of their incentives. Promotional wagers in January totaled approximately $21.8 million.

January GGR of sports betting totaled $59.6 million on a 13.5% holding. Figures for February are not yet known.

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