July Meets The Low Revenue Expectations At Massachusetts Casinos

Written By Derek Helling on August 16, 2023
encore boston harbor, mgm springfield, and plainridge park logos next to multicolored stars

Historically, July has been among the slowest months of the year for Massachusetts’ gambling industry. That pattern held true in 2023 as gaming revenue from the two casinos and Plainridge Park “racino” (racetrack that also offers slots) dropped below $100 million for the first time since February.

Sports betting interest in Massachusetts lived up to its reputation in July as well. While those numbers will soon improve, the latest data from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission bears some intrigue for one of the state’s gaming industry power players.

Casinos, racino pay almost $28 million in July taxes

infographic showing statistics for massachusetts' gaming industry from july 2023The dog days of summer hit their doggiest for casino gaming in Massachusetts in July. The three licensees of Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park saw their third-lowest combined gross revenue total of 2023 so far.

The sum of $98.6 million was even down from June Massachusetts gaming revenue by around $2 million. However, July tends to represent the floor of a summer decline in the state, with August and September usually triggering a progression to the mean.

The bright side of July’s revenue from slots and table games is that it was essentially right in line with the prior year’s same-month performance. The minuscule deviation of a tenth of a percent amounted to a negative difference of around $98,000.

On the other hand, tax revenue for the state from casino gaming very slightly improved by about $300,000 compared to July 2022. In fact, the gaming tax total of $27.9 million represented the best July yet since Massachusetts casinos first opened in 2019.

Massachusetts’ online gambling scene is now unique as it is one of just four states in which WynnBet is operating after it shut down in eight other states earlier this week. Massachusetts is also one of just two states in which WynnBet offers online sports betting in tandem with Wynn Resorts also operating a brick-and-mortar casino therein. Nevada is the other.

Despite that fact, the numbers show a trend that is likely the opposite of what Wynn hopes to see.

WynnBet’s sports betting market share continues to slide

Over the past three months, WynnBet’s share of dollars wagered on sporting events using Massachusetts’ regulated sportsbooks has only declined.

Legal online sports wagering began in Massachusetts on March 10. That means there are four full months and a partial month of data from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to examine.

After WynnBet represented 3.3% of all dollars bet on sports online in Massachusetts in that partial March, WynnBet’s market share rose to 4.2% in April. So far, that’s been the high water mark, though. The three months since have seen that share degrade.

  • May – 3.7%
  • June – 3.6%
  • July – 3.1%

There are caveats to consider here. First, four full months of data is a small sample. Also, in Wynn’s eyes, the success of WynnBet may not solely rest on the book’s share of online sports wagering dollars. Rather, the company may place more value on whether it is seeing a net influx of interest in Encore from the product.

It’s difficult to say that has been the case so far, though. Since WynnBet’s launch, gross gaming revenues have largely been in line with Encore’s performances from 2022 each month. That’s just one measurement of performance, however.

It’s fair to argue that if not for the presence of Encore, WynnBet’s share in Massachusetts might be even smaller. At the same time, if Wynn’s main motivation for maintaining WynnBet in the state is driving traffic to Encore, that’s kind of irrelevant.

If WynnBet’s share continues to shrink, that potential for crossover diminishes with it. For Massachusetts’ gaming industry overall, July did not go awry.

Photo by PlayUSA
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is the assistant managing editor of PlayUSA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including finance, regulation, and technology in the gaming industry. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa and resides in Chicago

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