Despite casino revenue dipping more than 30% in 2020 compared with the previous year, Maryland casinos held up better compared with other markets across the country, according to a new report from the American Gaming Association.
Last year marked the first time since 2010 that Maryland lost revenue in casino gaming across its six venues, with $1.2 billion compared with $1.7 billion in 2019, the report said.
The association said MGM National Harbor, near Washington, D.C., and Live! Casino & Hotel, in Anne Arundel County, were the two highest-grossing commercial casinos in the nation outside Nevada in 2020, surpassing venues in New York and New Jersey. The report noted an edge the casinos had: stronger earnings in the fall.
The greater Baltimore-Washington, D.C., commercial gaming market, which also includes Hollywood Casino in West Virginia, overtook Chicagoland to slide into the top three gaming areas, behind only the Las Vegas Strip and Atlantic City.
Casinos closed their doors for about three months because of the coronavirus, and there were several restrictions on indoor capacity and dining. The report estimates that about 27% of their operating days were lost.
Like its revenue, Maryland’s gaming tax revenue was also down by about 30%, falling from $727 million to $507 million.
Of 2020′s tax total, $373 million went to Maryland’s Education Trust Fund, which supports public education, and $43 million was distributed in the form of local impact grants and contributions to local governments. The remainder went to the horse racing industry, responsible gaming initiatives and minority- or women-owned businesses, according to the report.