The idea that pent up demand would help casinos surge back hasn’t been true for the entire industry, but the U.S. east coast seems to be seeing the phenomena in full force. Maryland’s casinos have come back strong, and Penn National Gaming (PNG) is optimistic that pent up demand could be the road to a full recovery.
Maryland recovery is strong
Maryland’s casinos saw the first full moth of operation in July, and even with limited capacities, three casinos are actually doing bigger business, year on year. LIVE! Casino & Hotel saw gaming revenue of $51.5 million, up 4.5% when compared with July 2019. Revenue was also up at the Hollywood Casino and Rocky Gap casino.
Overall though, numbers are slightly down. With the state’s six casinos combined, revenue came in at $139.9 million, down $9.4 million from the previous year, or 6.3%.
“With limited entertainment options, people have been anxious to get out and do something fun,” said Maryland Lottery and Gaming director Gordon Medenica. “The casinos worked very hard to reconfigure their operations for this ‘new normal’ and while this is still uncharted territory in many ways, these are strong results, given the circumstances.”
As a total, the state took $57.9 million of that revenue, down 6.1% from the previous year.
Penn National sees pent up demand too.
The Hollywood Casino is of course operated by PNG, who had the perfect chance to comment on this recovery with the Q2 earnings announcement. Jay Snowden, President and Chief Executive Officer said:
“The outstanding results to date at our reopened properties highlight our unique strategic position as a best in class operator of market leading regional properties, which have rebounded more quickly than casinos in destination markets. In addition, our geographic diversification across 19 states — with no more than 15% of our revenues being derived from any single state — has proven to be a significant benefit as states have reopened casinos on a staggered basis. Although visitation has yet to return to pre-COVID levels, in large part due to state mandated capacity restrictions and limited amenities, spend per visit has been notably strong, resulting in better than expected revenues.”
Numbers were of course down overall for the second quarter. Net revenues declined 76.9% to $305.5 million, down from $1.32 billion in 2019. That resulted in a net loss for the operator to the sum of $214.4 million, way down from the net income of $51.4 million the company showed for the same time period in 2019.
In the rest of his statement, Snowden emphasized how much online operations in Pennsylvania helped the company during the lockdown period, and emphasized cashless payment options as the way forward for the future.