West Virginia Casino Impacted by MGM National HarborJanuary 3, 2017 1:08 pm
For many years, the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races enjoyed a privileged position of being one of only a handful of gambling options for residents in the Washington, D.C., area. On December 8th, however, the competition just got a lot harder after the $1.4 million National Harbor casino opened just 72 miles away, complete with 3,300 slot machines and 126 table games.
As a result, two weeks after MGM’s opening night, the Charles Town casino has already reported a 19.5% fall in its slots revenues, or around $670,000, while its table game gambling revenues have also taken a 22% hit worth around $214,000 in lost business. According to Hollywood Casino Senior VP of Public Affairs Eric Schippers, however, that 20% drop should be the limit of its contraction in revenues for the whole of 2017.
In fact, Schippers has stated that Hollywood Casino had been preparing for the increased competition by reinvesting into its business, with its new features now including a hotel, restaurants, entertainment venue, as well as a refreshed slots offering, and new amenities to cater for its Asian guests.
In the meantime, Hollywood Casino has said that it was not alarmed by the significant hit already taken to its bottom line, with Annette Gavin, CEO of the Jefferson County Convention and Visitors Bureau, stating that other casinos have sprung up in the area in the past, and that “each and every time the Hollywood Casino has adjusted and come out victorious.”
Case in point, Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races has enjoyed a long history dating back to 1933, and according to casino industry analyst James Karmel, the venue should now concentrate on differentiating itself from other casinos in the region, including MGM National Harbor, by promoting its horse racing offering. Elaborating further, Karmel explained:
“The connection between D.C. tourism and casino gaming makes National Harbor a potential international resort. Charles Town’s best approach is to show how they are different to capitalize more of the regional gaming clientele.”