By Jeff Barker
Maryland casinos reported combined revenue gains for the eighth straight month in July, again topping $100 million.
Revenues at the five casinos rose to $103.8 million, 5 percent higher than the same month a year earlier, according to figures released Friday by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency.
It was the third month that the state’s casinos combined to surpass $100 million since the first casino opened in 2010. The record of $104.4 million was set in May.
The last time the casinos’ collective revenue was down was in November, when it dropped about one-half of 1 percent.
Analysts have attributed the upward trend to favorable economic conditions in the region and effective marketing. Hollywood Casino Perryville, the first casino, opened in 2010. The operations, while still a novelty to some, have had time to mold their offerings — tinkering with the mix of table games to slots — to acclimate themselves to the market.
While Nevada casino revenues have been flat, analysts say the convenience of regional casinos has aided the bottom line in Maryland, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
The state’s fifth casino, Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, opened in August 2014. Horseshoe generated $24.9 million from slot machines and tables games in July, a 2.5 percent increase.
“Horseshoe Casino Baltimore’s year-to-date performance remains extremely strong,” said Erin Chamberlin, the casino’s senior vice president and general manager, in a written statement.
Construction continues on a sixth Maryland casino, the MGM National Harbor resort in Prince George’s County, scheduled to open by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, Maryland Live, the state’s largest casino, is adding a hotel and conference center in Anne Arundel County.
Maryland Live reported $60.4 million in July – its second highest total ever.
Its only better month was March of 2014 ($61.8 million) before rival Horseshoe opened, creating new competition.
“It took us a little time to ramp back up to record levels,” Robert Norton, Maryland Live’s president, said Friday.
Casinos also had an advantage this July, Norton said. Because the month began on a Friday, there were five July weekends instead of four. Casinos tend to perform better on weekends when players have more free time.
Two other Maryland casinos reported July gains.
Ocean Downs in Worcester County reported revenue of $6.5 million, a 2.5 increase. Rocky Gap Casino Resort in Allegany County generated $5.0 million, up 17 percent.
Hollywood Casino Perryville in Cecil County generated $6.7 million, a decrease of 1.9 percent.