Detroit, Michigan Casino Revenue Takes Nose Dive In June

Posted on July 27, 2020

Casino revenue in Detroit took a giant nose dive in June, showing yet again how crippling the global pandemic has been to the gambling industry.

Figures released by Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB), show city tax revenue wielding only $35.6 million through the first six months of the year compared to $87.5 million over the same period of time in 2019. With no reopening plan in sight, the city could be in for more months of hardship.

Michigan casino revenue takes a dive

The coronavirus pandemic has spared no industry, gambling included. Tax revenue from all three commercial casinos is down 59.3% and could lead to significant budget implications should doors remain closed.

So far, numbers look as such:

  • MGM Grand Detroit — $126.5 million down 40% year-over-year.
  • MotorCity Casino — $102.6 million down 41% year-over-year.
  • Greektown Casino — $70.1 million down 41% year-over-year.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has yet to move forward with a plan to reopen essential businesses. In fact, she has moved in the opposite direction by tightening restrictions amid a second wave of infections.

All three casinos combined for a total adjusted gross revenue (AGR) of $299.2 million down from $735.4 million over the same period of time in 2019. Although the MGCB has released safety protocols for casino reopening, Whitmer has yet to announce any sort of timeline to do so.

Reopening path forward

When the Motor City’s three commercial casinos do reopen, the safety and health standards in place will be similar to other properties across the US.

Some new protocols include:

  • Temperature checks
  • Mandatory face masks for all guest and employees
  • Limited operating capacity
  • No indoor dining

Las Vegas initially reopened without mandating face masks but after cases of COVID-19 continued to rise, the city changed course. Similarly, casino operators such as Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts International have implemented a mask mandate across all US properties.

Since tribal casinos do not fall under the jurisdiction of the MGCB they will be reopening properties on a case-by-case basis.

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Budget implications and the relaunch of team sports

Detroit collects 10.9% of the casino’s aggregate revenue which is costing the city roughly $600,000 everyday door remain closed. The city council also estimated an economic loss of $348 million for the year resulting in a massive $194 million budget cut to offset.

One plan to bring back a sliver of revenue has been the push for Michigan online sports betting. Lawmakers and gaming regulators are currently working on a plan to launch mobile wagering later this fall. In addition to the slow reopening of tribal casinos, retail sports betting is now live minutes from the Indiana border.

The launch of sports betting couldn’t be better as MLB, the NBA, and NHL are all set to resume play.

Although the city has been able to keep the lights on, should closures roll into its fifth and six months, it could be disastrous for all involved.

Nicholaus Garcia Avatar
Written by
Nicholaus Garcia

Nick has had stints in Chicago, writing about local politics, and in Washington, D.C., covering the expanding gambling industry. Now back in Chicago, he continues to write about the emerging sports betting market with a focus on the Midwest. Originally from West Texas, he graduated from Texas Tech University and completed his master's degree in journalism at Columbia College Chicago.

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