Horseshoe Baltimore, the Caesars Entertainment casino near the NFL Ravens’ M&T Bank Stadium, continues to struggle.
Maryland’s six casinos performed well last month, all but the Horseshoe recording year-over-year gross gaming revenue (GGR) gains. Casino win totaled $151.3 million, a 10.6 percent premium on February 2019.
MGM National Harbor again led the way, with the Oxon Hill resort outside DC winning $61.1 million (+13.3 percent). Live! Casino near BWI International Airport was second at $54.7 million (+18.9 percent).
The state’s three smaller resort-style casinos – Hollywood Casino Perryville, Ocean Downs, and Rocky Gap – collectively won $17.5 million. All three properties saw February GGR gains.
Horseshoe, however, did not. The downtown Baltimore gaming floor kept $17.9 million of patron money, a more than 13 percent decline.
The casino kicked off 2020 with a January GGR decline of 4.4 percent. Horseshoe is on a considerable losing streak. The floor has reported year-over-year monthly losses in 11 straight months, its last increase coming back in March 2019.
Baltimore is one of America’s deadliest cities. In 2018, “Charm City” saw 51 homicides per 100,000 people, more than five times the national average.
Baltimore reported 309 murders that year. For perspective, the city had 20 more murders than New York City, despite having less than 10 percent of the Big Apple’s population.
The city’s warranted reputation of being a dangerous place is hampering pedestrian traffic from the NFL Ravens stadium to Horseshoe Baltimore, which is in a largely run-down area along Russell Street. Caesars is investing heavily in making the corridor between M&T Bank Stadium and the casino a safer, more inviting walk by purchasing abandoned buildings with the hopes of creating an entertainment district.
Last fall, Caesars announced a $50 million investment to construct an 80,000-square-foot concert venue dubbed the Paramount.
“The goal of the project is really to create a sense of place that is unique, so that people will come back to enjoy this place, not because there’s a certain performance, but they’re coming to this place to enjoy and be part of this district,” designer Matt Herbert told city planning officials.
Horseshoe Baltimore is searching for solutions to reverse its fortunes. The casino thought smokers might be one answer. But the newly constructed outdoor gaming patio hasn’t provided the influx of customers as expected.
Sports betting could help. With the Orioles and Ravens playing their games nearby, fans could be lured to the casino sportsbook to place a wager prior to the first pitch or kickoff.
But in the sports betting bill that advanced this week in Annapolis, mobile sportsbooks would be authorized, meaning fans inside the stadium could simply make their sports bet on their smartphones.
Horseshoe Baltimore will soon become Eldorado Resorts’ problem. Late last month, the Maryland State Lottery & Gaming Control Agency approved Eldorado’s $17.3 billion acquisition of the larger Caesars organization.