October 2023 was rough for the three retail casinos located in Detroit, with the lowest revenue totals in almost three years following a 19% drop. Part of the reason for these low totals can be attributed to an ongoing strike with casino employees in the city. In addition to lower casino revenue totals, retail sports betting had dipped in the state of Michigan.
Revenue Dips 19% For Detroit Retail Casinos
Throughout October of 2023, Detroit’s three brick-and-mortar casinos (MGM Grand Detroit, Hollywood Casino Greektown, and MotorCity Casino Hotel) collected $81.7 million in revenue from gaming. This is a 19% decrease from last October, which had $100.8 million in gaming revenue. Additionally, PlayMichigan reports that this is the lowest handle since December 2020.
MGM Grand Detroit had the largest tumble in terms of table game and slot machine revenue, totaling $37.3 million for the month. This is 24.6% below the casino’s average number for January through September of 2023. Other similar revenue drops were seen at MotorCity Casino (22.1%) and Hollywood Casino at Greektown (20.2%).
These lower numbers also led to diminished tax revenue. Both state tax revenue totals ($6.6 million) and city tax revenue ($10.1 million) were 19% lower than October of 2022. With a $3.9 million total decrease in tax revenue, it’s clear that this was a difficult month for the Detroit casino industry.
Detroit Casino Employee Strike Fuels Low Numbers
On October 17, 2023, Detroit casino employees from five different unions officially went on strike. With 3,700 union workers looking to get new contracts, the Detroit Casino Council is aiming for everything from retirement benefits and higher wages to employment security.
Another focus of the strike is the online gaming options provided by the Detroit casinos, as each has partnered with betting operators for mobile sports betting apps and iGaming sites. A new campaign from the Detroit Casino Council urges bettors to stop wagering with online gaming apps that have partnered with the Detroit physical casinos.
Retail Sports Betting Revenue Down 46.9% In Michigan
October is generally a very popular time in the betting world, with NFL games, college football action, the start of the NHL season, and much more. But that wasn’t the case in Michigan this year, as in-person sports betting revenue stopped 46.9% to $1.1 million for the month of October. The overall handle took a hit as well, recording $18.1 million to represent a 23% decrease.
Each of the Detroit casinos currently has a brick-and-mortar sportsbook available. The MotorCity Casino Hotel has a FanDuel Sportsbook while MGM Grand Detroit has a BetMGM Sportsbook. Meanwhile, Hollywood Casino at Greektown has had a Barstool Sportsbook, although that will likely undergo a rebrand with the platform relaunching as ESPN Bet.
As was the case with table games and slots, MGM Grand Detroit saw the sharpest decline with 51.5% lower handle compared to the previous October. The casino’s $4.7 million retail betting handle was also the lowest among the trio of Detroit-area casinos.
Although retail sports betting isn’t as popular online wagering, this sharp decline does further reflect the losses that Detroit-area casinos have experienced as of late.