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Horseshoe revenues continue to underwhelm

December revenues are slightly below those of November. Overall, Horseshoe is trailing projected revenues by 35%.

Above: On a recent weekend night, three Baltimore police cars are stationed in front of the Horseshoe Casino on Russell Street.

The Baltimore Horseshoe Casino ended the year with another disappointing month, as revenues dipped slightly in December from November despite an extra day in the month.

Gross revenues last month were $22.9 million compared with $23.4 million in November.

In its first four months of operation, the Russell Street casino has generated revenues 35% below those projected by a consultant hired by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency.

Cummings Associates, a Massachusetts-based gaming advisor, told the state to expect Horseshoe to generate $31.2 million a month in fiscal 2015 and more than $35 million in fiscal 2016. Baltimore City used similar numbers to base its expected revenues from the casino.

In fact, the casino has averaged under $23 million a month, tossing a monkey wrench in Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s plans to use gaming revenues to reduce homeowner property tax rates. (See Your property taxes cut because of Horseshoe Casino? Don’t bet on it.)

The lower-than-expected revenue stream is also slashing the amount of local impact funds available for South Baltimore neighborhoods impacted by the casino.

Those funds were further reduced after the mayor and Board of Estimates agreed to pay $9 million of impact revenues to the casino operator for roadway improvements and a relocated steam pipeline.

Heavy protection of the casino by Baltimore City police is further costing about $3 million a year, with $1.5 million coming from local impact funds.

Bankruptcy Expected by Parent Company

Meanwhile, Caesars Entertainment Corp., the Las Vegas parent operator of Horseshoe, is expected to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this month to reduce its mountain of debt after years of operating losses.

Caesars is counting on pushing through the courts a pre-packaged bankruptcy plan that will reward its main creditors but squeeze junior bondholders. The Brew has covered Caesars’ financial travails in detail, mostly recently here.

According to statistics released tonight by the Maryland Gaming Agency, Maryland Live continues to out-distance Horseshoe in revenues. In December, the Arundel Mills casino posted $50.2 million in revenues, or 219% above Horseshoe’s earnings.

The Cummings study projected that competition from Horseshoe would slow Maryland Live’s slots revenues by 16% and cut its table-game revenues by 25%.

So far, Horseshoe appears to have done little damage to Maryland Live and lured relatively few suburban and Washington area customers from the older casino.

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