Operating at reduced capacity, MGM Springfield, Encore Boston Harbor
and Plainridge Park saw year-over-year decrease in gaming revenue in first full month since COVID-19 shutdowns
September 15, 2020
SPRINGFIELD — The state’s three casinos recorded about $71 million in gross gaming revenue in August — a year-over-year decrease of 17.4% in the first full month of operations following a nearly four-month shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to data released Tuesday by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.
MGM Springfield, Encore Boston Harbor and Plainridge Park reopened in July at reduced capacity and under a number of other safety measures meant to stem the spread of the virus.
Operating at one-third capacity, MGM Springfield brought in $18.46 million in gross gaming revenue in August — a year-over-year drop from $20.97 million in August 2019. The total was the casino’s lowest for a full month of operations since it opened, but it was only about a half-million dollars shy of the previous low of $18.95 million in December 2019 — despite the serious limitations posed by the pandemic.
With only 800 of its 2,000 slot machines in play, the two-year-old, $960 million resort on Springfield’s South End saw a year-over-year drop of about 10% in slots revenue: $14.05 million, compared to $15.63 million in August 2019. Revenue from table games was down about 17%, from $5.33 million last year to $4.41 million this year.
Encore reported $42.39 million in gross gaming revenue, compared to $52.49 million in August 2019.
Plainridge Park, which has no table games, reported $10.17 million in slots revenue, compared with $12.08 million in August 2019.
Before MGM Springfield opened in late August 2018, the company told the state and city it would bring in an average of $34.8 million a month in gross gaming revenue from slot machines and table games like poker. Instead, the average over its first 18 full months was $21.5 million. The peak was $26.9 million in September 2018, its first full month of operation.
The casino brought in just $9.3 million in March 2020, when it and the state’s other gaming sites were shutdown mid-month due to the pandemic. MGM Springfield reopened July 10, and brought in $10.7 million in from that date through 31, 2020.
MGM also promised to create 3,000 jobs here. Earlier this year, the company had 2,500 employees. As of this week there are 700, with plans to call more people in as business ramps back up.
But at the beginning of September, MGM Springfield announced that it had laid off 1,000 furloughed employees, part of 18,000 job cuts being made by its parent company nationwide.
The laid off employees — all of them having been on furlough since the March shutdown — will continue with company-paid health care through Sept. 30, retain their seniority and have first crack at jobs as they reopen.