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Mass. Gaming Highs, Lows Reflected In December Numbers

The Encore Boston Harbor Casino in Everett as seen from Somerville. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
The Encore Boston Harbor Casino in Everett as seen from Somerville. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

In terms of revenue, December was the best month on record for the Encore Boston Harbor casino but the worst for both of the state's other two gambling halls, MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park Casino.

Tax collectors will see about $23.24 million flow into state accounts from the approximately $83 million in revenue the two casinos and the slots parlor cumulatively generated in December, with more than half of it coming from the six-month-old casino in Everett, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission announced Wednesday.

The Encore casino reported $54.01 million in gross gaming revenue last month, topping August ($52.49 million) as the most positive month yet for the casino's coffers. About $31.4 million of the casino's December revenue came from its table games while the remaining $22.6 million was generated from the roughly $276.5 million that gamblers put into the casino's slot machines last month.

MGM Springfield brought in less revenue last month than it has in any full month since its August 2018 opening. The casino reported taking in a total of $18.95 million, a decline of more than 12% from the $21.58 million in revenue the casino saw in December 2018.

The Springfield casino's revenue predominantly came from its slot machines. Players wagered $165.3 million on the machines in December and the casino took in $13.9 million in slot revenue, compared to just $5.04 million in revenue generated at MGM Springfield's table games.

At Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville, monthly revenue totaled $10.2 million, dropping below the $11 million mark for a full month for the second consecutive month and just the second time since the slots parlor opened in June 2015. The slots in Plainville were the most generous in the state last month, paying out 92.66% of the $139 million wagered.

State government can expect to collect about $13.5 million in taxes from Encore Boston Harbor and another $4.7 million in taxes from MGM Springfield. Combined, the two full-scale casinos generated about $18.24 million in tax revenue for the state in December. The two full-scale casinos in Massachusetts are taxed at a rate of 25% of their gross gaming revenue.

The state is also entitled to more than $4.08 million of Plainridge's December revenue in the form of taxes intended for local aid and another $918,590 for the Race Horse Development Fund. That works out to a total tax or assessment hit of just more than $5 million last month, according to the Gaming Commission.

Plainridge runs harness racing, which is scheduled to resume in April, and is currently the only track left in Massachusetts that offers horse racing.

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

Massachusetts has collected a cumulative $525 million in taxes and assessments from the three gaming facilities that have opened under the 2011 expanded gaming law, the Gaming Commission said.

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