Maryland’s September Gambling Revenues Show Casinos Down, While Sports Betting Roars

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September’s gambling revenues for Maryland’s operators are in, and it’s a tale of two sectors for sure. According to the latest release from state regulator Maryland Lottery and Gaming, casinos had their worst month in years – while sports betting was absolutely booming, thanks to the onset of the NFL season.

September 2023 continued the slide in revenues for the six Maryland casino venues, with the collective income hitting its lowest point since January 2022.

The casinos generated a total of $155.1 million for the month. That marks a 2.6% year-over-year decrease from September 2022’s $159.27 million and a 3.9% monthly drop from August 2023’s $161.4 million.

Meanwhile, Maryland’s sports betting scene witnessed a massive rise in handle over the month, with a notable surge attributed to the start of the NFL season.

The state recorded its second-highest handle ever, amounting to $442.5 million. That’s up an incredible 13x on September last year, when only Maryland retail sportsbooks were open for bets.

In September 2023, the NFL handle constituted 17% of this total in its first full season for Maryland’s sports bettors.

Casino Downturn

On the casino side of things, the picture was not looking so good. The state’s six casinos saw their lowest revenue total since they generated $153.8 million in January 2022. The peak of Maryland casino revenue was recorded in October 2022, with revenues soaring above $212.9 million.

Since July’s figures, state casino’s revenues have fallen every month, for a total 11% drop in that three- month period.

Casino contributions to the taxman in September were approximately $66.44 million, a 2.2% decrease from September 2022. The Education Trust Fund received about $47.85 million of this total.

The largest contributor to the state’s casino revenue was, as in most months, MGM National Harbor, which generated $62.4 million from slot machines and table games.

Live! Casino & Hotel followed in second, contributing $49.4 million, while Baltimore’s Horseshoe Casino generated $19.4 million.

Rocky Gap Casino Resort, acquired this year by Century Casinos in a $51 million deal, was once again the worst-performing of the six casinos. Its revenues dropped to $4.8 million, bottoming out the charts for the month.

Some have speculated that slowing casino revenues could lead operators to push lawmakers to propose Maryland online casinos in 2024. But that’s a far-off prospect for now.

Sports Betting Boosted by NFL

On the other hand, Maryland’s sports betting operators had a riotously good month.

Online sports betting constituted over 95% of September wagering, with mobile bettors placing bets amounting to $421 million.

FanDuel led in Maryland online sports betting and retail, with its mobile operation generating $11.1 million in taxable revenue off $175 million in bets for the month. DraftKings followed, earning $5.7 million from a total handle of $154.1 million through its app.

The total gross revenue reported by operators was $45.6 million, resulting in a 10.3% hold. After accounting for promotions and other deductions, the taxable net gaming revenue dropped to $21.5 million. Consequently, Maryland collected $3.2 million in sports betting taxes for the month.

These figures show that operators deducted a cool $24 million in promotions from their taxable revenue. This promotional spending was not unprecedented, as operators did allocate more towards promo dollars in the opening month’s of the sports betting market last November.

The three market leaders in the state, DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM, were the most generous in terms of promotions in September, doling out $8.8 million, $8.4 million, and $3 million, respectively.

Fanatics Sportsbook, which handled $12 million online in its first complete month of full-scale operations in Maryland, reported $2.4 million in September promotions as it continues to build its betting database.

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