Mother Nature took it easy on New England this December, and it looks like New Englanders decided to celebrate their good fortune at the region’s casinos.
That’s good news for the still-evolving industry.
The times they are a changing
The New England gaming industry changed a lot over the course of 2018.
- The long-awaited MGM Springfield casino opened its doors in August.
- A week later, Newport Grand was shuttered and replaced by the Twin River Tiverton casino.
- Rhode Island became the first New England state to open legal sportsbooks.
- New Hampshire’s online lottery went live in September.
2019 is poised to be just as transformative.
- Encore Boston Harbor is slated to open in June.
- New Hampshire is considering a casino expansion bill (again).
- And sports betting, including mobile sports betting, is expected to spread across the region.
Weather a factor in strong year-over-year performance
New England weather can be fickle during the winter months. It can also have a big impact on gaming, evidenced by the difference between December 2017 and December 2018.
New England was hit with two storms in December 2017 (Dylan and Benji), as well as a late-December arctic air blast. December 2018 was mild by comparison (temps were above freezing most of the month), with no major snowstorms.
The impact of the milder 2018 can be seen in the year-over-year (YoY) revenue comparison, as every established outperformed its recent YoY numbers.
A closer look at this month’s slot revenue
New England slot revenue December 2018:
- Mohegan Sun Casino – CT: $49,773,635
- Foxwoods Casino – CT: $36,981,494
- Twin River Lincoln – RI: $37,199,703
- MGM Springfield – MA: $14,255,518
- Plainridge Park Casino – MA: $14,089,866
- Twin River Tiverton – RI: $7,500,203
- Oxford Casino – ME: $5,969,734
- Hollywood Casino – ME: $3,251,333
Here’s how each facility stacks up:
|# Slot Machines||Average RTP|
|Twin River Lincoln||4,200||92%|
|Twin River Tiverton||1,000||92%|
A closer look at this month’s table game revenue
Table game revenue December 2018:
- Twin River Lincoln – RI: $12,240,182
- MGM Springfield – Mass.: $7,327,706
- Twin River Tiverton – RI: $2,281,383
- Oxford Casino – Maine: $1,364,931
- Hollywood Casino – Maine: $658,106
Here’s how each facility stacks up:
|# Table Games||# of Poker Tables|
|Twin River Lincoln||93 +48 Stadium Games||23|
|Twin River Tiverton||32+18 Stadium Games||N/A|
State-by-state casino revenue breakdown
In the words of the late NFL coach Dennis Green, MGM Springfield is who we thought they were.
The property has settled in at around $22 million per month. That’s a solid, albeit unspectacular number for the winter months.
That said, there are still a lot of unanswered questions for MGM Springfield going forward:
- What impact will Encore Boston Harbor have when it opens?
- Will the East Windsor tribal casino ever become a reality?
- Can MGM turn Springfield into a spring, summer, and fall destination with special events?
December was a strong month for Connecticut’s two tribal casinos.
Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods had been the hardest hit by the expansion in the region, but December saw Mohegan Sun’s YoY revenue level off, and Foxwoods down just five percent.
The panic built up around the opening of MGM Springfield seems to be subsiding, as the state is increasing slot revenue estimates for FY2020, and is $20 million above its slot revenue estimates for the current fiscal year.
Twin River’s flagship property in Lincoln saw revenues rise more than 14 percent in December, and it’s new property in Tiverton nearly tripled last year’s tally, when it was located in Newport and known as Newport Grand.
Factor in another million from the two properties’ sportsbooks, and the little state of Rhode Island is stealing a lot of the casino thunder from Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Maine’s two casinos have yet to be impacted by the expansion in southern New England, with revenues falling within historical norms.