Revenues at Plainville's casino rise in spite of capacity limits

PLAINVILLE — Gambling revenues at the state’s three casinos — including Plainridge Park slot parlor — rose in December despite more restrictive limits on patrons and a curfew on operations.

Gross gaming revenue for the month for the local venue was just under $9.2 million, compared to $7.6 million the month before — the worst full month of operation for Plainridge since it opened five years ago as the states first legal gambling operation.

In its report released Friday, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission said that between them, Plainridge Park Casino, MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor generated approximately $50 million in gross gaming revenue in December. That’s about $5 million more than in November.

Gross gaming revenue is the difference between what players bet and what they win, the equivalent to sales revenue in other businesses.

That rise in revenue came despite the fact that Plainridge Park and the other two casinos in Massachusetts are keeping occupancy well below the state-mandated 25% capacity limit imposed last month.

Plainridge reached a high of 19% on Dec. 26 and Jan. 8 and Encore Boston Harbor in Everett hit 19% on New Year’s Day and was at 17% the rest of the time, according to published reports.

In November of 2019, months before the coronavirus pandemic began to impact business and daily life in the area, Plainridge reported revenue of nearly $11 million.

All three of the state’s casino sites — Plainridge, Encore Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield — experienced sharp revenue drops in November after months of struggling to recover since reopening this summer. They were closed for months after the state ordered a shutdown of nonessential businesses.

Plainridge’s owners, Penn National Gaming, do not comment on the monthly revenue reports.

Plainridge is taxed on 49 percent of its gross gaming revenue, with 82 percent of the levy going to local aid and 18 percent to a fund set up with the goal of supporting horse racing.

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