Massachusetts casinos ended 2021 in almost record fashion. The three commercial properties combined to win nearly $96 million off of their patrons.
Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield, and Plainridge Park generated gross gaming revenue (GGR) of $95.66 million in December, the second-highest all-time revenue month for the state gaming industry. Massachusetts legalized commercial casino gambling in 2011 by way of its Expanded Gaming Act.
The $95.66 million casino win last month fell just shy of the state’s monthly best of $95.71 million set last July.
Wynn Resorts’ Encore integrated resort in Everett led the way in December with GGR of $62.4 million. MGM Springfield was a distant second at $22.2 million, and the slots-only Plainridge facility accounted for the remaining $11 million.
Tax Income Nears $1B
Encore Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield are subject to a 25 percent tax on their GGR. Plainridge Park shares 49 percent of its slot income with the state. Combined, the casinos sent the state more than $26.5 million in gaming taxes last month.
Casino taxes and associated fees and assessments since the state liberalized gaming have now benefited the commonwealth to the tune of $971 million.
For Encore and MGM, the Category 1 casinos that required a minimum capital investment of $500 million, 20 percent of their gaming taxes are allocated for local aid, and another 15 percent goes to the Massachusetts Transportation Infrastructure Fund. The full-scale casino taxes additionally benefit an array of other programs, including debt relief, community initiatives, public health, local capital improvements, tourism, and the Race Horse Development Fund.
Plainridge Park is taxed significantly higher. The Penn National casino required a minimum capital investment of $125 million. Tax receipts from the slots casino predominantly benefit local aid. Eighty-two percent of the slot revenue is directed for community assistance, with the remaining 18 percent set aside for the horsemen.
Sports Betting Odds
Many sports fans in Massachusetts hope 2022 will finally be the year the commonwealth joins the 31 other states that have passed laws to regulate sports betting. State Sen. Eric Lesser (D-Hampden) is expected to again lead the effort to legalize sports gambling in 2022, as he has done in previous legislative sessions.
The appetite to expand gaming in the state is mixed in the General Court. Some state lawmakers believe it’s more than time for Massachusetts to benefit from legal sports betting. Others say the state has enough gaming as is.
Some want to do it, some are uncertain they want to do it,” Senate President Karen Spilka (D-Middlesex and Norfolk) told the State House News Service this week. “But we will be taking a look at it.”
State fiscal projections believe Massachusetts could receive around $60 million a year from retail and mobile sports betting.
Sports betting is legal and operational in neighboring New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire. Each of those four states allows in-person and online wagering.
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