Gaming revenues at Baltimore’s Horseshoe Casino slumped to their lowest monthly level in May since the facility opened last August.
Figures released this morning by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency show that Horseshoe’s revenues last month dropped to $21,923,621, or more than $1 million below April and nearly $3 million less than March 2015.
The casino’s previous low water mark was in September 2014, the first full month of operation, when it recorded $22.4 million in revenues.
The state agency did not identify a cause for the revenue decline, but anecdotal evidence suggests that the April 27 riot in West Baltimore has cast a shadow over local gaming, at least for the short run.
The apparent beneficiary of Horseshoe’s poor performance is its closest rival, Maryland Live in Anne Arundel County.
Maryland Live recorded a 14% rise in revenues last month over April. The facility registered $58,042,088 in revenues last month – 62% more than Horseshoe.
Last summer, when Horseshoe was opening, city officials and the local media were predicting that the new casino on Russell Street would grab a large portion of business from Maryland Live. That proved illusory.
From the start of operations, Horseshoe’s revenues have been 35-40% below original projections.
No Property Tax Relief
It was a result of such rosy projections that Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake proposed to lower Baltimore City’s property tax rate in the coming and future years. (The casino pays a ground lease based on revenues on the city-owned Russell Street site.)
The disappointing revenue stream has made a minimal impact on city taxes – and the mayor has “paused” a promised reduction in the property tax rate for fiscal 2016, starting July 1. (See It’s now official: sagging casino revenues equal no property tax cut this year.)
Last month’s total take at Horseshoe (slot machines and table games) amounted to $707,214 a day – down from $764,729 a day in April and $821,036 a day in February, so far the casino’s best revenue month.
Between April 28 and May 2, Rawlings-Blake imposed a citywide emergency curfew because of civil unrest, which forced the casino to close overnight.
Horseshoe resumed 24-hour operations on Sunday, May 3.