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The Dripby Mark Reutter4:03 pmMar 5, 20200

Cold table: Horseshoe Casino Baltimore hits new revenue low

Last month’s revenues were the lowest ever since the Russell Street gambling venue opened

Above: A billboard promoting the brand-new Horseshoe Casino in 2014. (Mark Reutter)

Despite 2020 being a leap year, February revenues at Horseshoe Casino skidded more than 13% from February a year ago, the Maryland Lottery & Gaming Control Agency reported today.

More ominously, last month’s revenues were the lowest ever across Horseshoe’s 66 months of operation – and the first ever to dip below $18 million.

By contrast, overall revenues for Maryland’s gambling industry rose 10.6% last month from February 2019, with all five competing casinos showing solid gains.

Misplaced Hopes

When opened in August 2014, Horseshoe was hailed by city leaders as an “economic game changer” for Baltimore, poised to become the leading casino in the state by challenging the dominance of Maryland Live in Anne Arundel County.

Granted tax breaks, infrastructure improvements and special Baltimore Police protection, the Russell Street casino, run by Caesars Entertainment, was projected to grow rapidly during its first 10 years of operation.

But times have changed.

Revenues did increase modestly from 2014 through mid-2016, then began a steady contraction that accelerated last year despite the hiring of a new general manager.

During this period, competitors ramped up their entertainment offerings and added hotel space, squeezing Horseshoe into a limited geographic market of mostly low-stakes players.

Last month, an expanded Maryland Live, now called Live!, produced triple the revenues of Horseshoe – $54.8 million versus $17.9 million, according to MLGCA figures.

And unlike Horseshoe, the Arundel Mills casino is holding its own against the state’s newest entrant, MGM National Harbor.

National Harbor boasted $61.1 million in revenues last month, buoyed by its location on the Potomac River near suburban Virginia as well as its appeal both to tourists and a nationwide pool of gamblers.

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