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Detroit Casinos Rebound, Post $111.4 Million In December Revenue

Lions and Wolverines and Pistons have plenty to do with Motown’s late-year comeback




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Downtown Detroit

Detroit’s three casinos combined for $111.4 million in adjusted gross revenue for December, according to figures released Tuesday by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, returning to pre-strike levels to close out 2023 while narrowing its year-over-year losses.

The figure does not include a bumper month from Motown sportsbooks, where the $4.8 million in gross sports wagering revenue was the highest total of the mobile era that began in January 2021 and second highest in state history behind the $7.6 million collected in October 2020. The $30.4 million handle was the highest since the three books accepted $35.9 million worth of bets in January 2022.

Overall casino revenue when excluding sports wagering was close to $1.23 billion, down 2.7% compared to 2022. MGM Grand’s $564 million in revenue marked a 6% decline from the previous year, while MotorCity Casino dipped 5.8% to $373.6 million. In contrast, Greektown Casino reported a 9.5% increase in winnings to $285.2 million.

December revenue was up 46.6% from the $76 million generated in November, when work stoppages roiled all three Detroit casinos. MGM Grand was the last of the trio to find labor peace, agreeing to a deal with its union workers on Dec. 4 to end a 47-day stoppage. Year-over-year casino revenue in December excluding sports wagering was up 2.9% from 2022.

The state received just over $9 million in taxes for December, ending the year with an inflow of $99 million in receipts. That was $2.8 million less than 2022. Detroit tax coffers received nearly $13.8 million in receipts, finishing 2023 with $155.2 million in tax revenue. That was $462,234 less than the previous year.

MGM separates itself with $50 million December

After a rough November in which MGM Grand generated $30.6 million and outperformed MotorCity by $6 million, MGM Grand was able to put customary difference between itself and its Detroit brethren with $50.6 million in December winnings. It was the first time since July that MGM Grand topped $50 million in a month, though the figure was also 0.7% off the nearly $51 million generated in the final month of 2022.

MotorCity’s ability to end 2023 on a positive note — its $34.7 million in revenue was up 5.1% compared to December 2022 — allowed it to have a smaller year-over-year loss than MGM Grand in terms of percentage of revenue. Greektown was the biggest positive mover, as revenue for the PENN Entertainment holding ticked 7.5% higher to $26.1 million. December’s casino revenue was the second highest of the year behind the $117.8 million generated in March, and all three venues had their second-best revenue totals behind the ones they posted in March.

Slots accounted for 80% of the $1.24 billion in total casino revenue at $984.1 million, while table games accounted for 19% of the total with $238.7 million. Sports wagering rounded out the numbers with $14 million in gross winnings.

Sportsbooks finally cash in, thanks to Lions

Prior to November, it could be argued 2023 was going to be a lost year for Detroit’s retail sportsbooks, which absorbed monthly losses in April and June and dealt with a general year-long malaise when it came to in-person wagering. December, though, was a salve on some of those woes, as Michigan bettors came around thanks in large part to the 12-5 Lions piecing together their best season since going 12-4 in 1991 and sparking interest in NFL betting.

Also helping were the Michigan Wolverines winning the Big Ten title game. That spurred futures wagering for their now-completed College Football Playoff title run, with operators looking at potential losses when January’s figures are published. It could be said that the Detroit Pistons even contributed something as an easy fade target throughout December while their losing streak reached an eventual NBA-record 28 games before beating Toronto on Dec. 30 for their third — and still most recent — win.

December’s action represented more than one-sixth of the $181.7 million in-person handle for 2023 and was an 89% year-over-year increase. The gross revenue was more than one-third of the almost $14 million in gross operator winnings for the year and nearly three times the revenue generated in the final month of 2022.

MotorCity’s FanDuel-powered sportsbook set a state revenue record for the second consecutive month with close to $2.4 million in gross revenue, making its full-year 2023 numbers look respectable with nearly $5.2 million in winnings and a hold of 8% from $65 million handle. More than 88% of its revenue came in the final two months, as it spent most of the summer and fall digging out of the hole created by its $1.7 million loss in June.

Greektown’s first full month as an ESPN BET sportsbook proved to be a strong one, as the $2.2 million in revenue was an all-time monthly high, while the $10 million handle was the first eight-figure haul since June 2022. Greektown was Detroit’s top sportsbook in 2023 for both gross revenue and handle with $6.7 million and $71.1 million, respectively, fashioning a win rate of 9.5%.

MGM Grand was on the other side, finishing 2023 with $2.1 million in winnings from $45.6 million worth of accepted wagers while posting a 4.7% hold. Handle for the BetMGM sportsbook plunged 42% compared to 2022, while revenue was off 65.6%, as its full-year hold was more than three percentage points lower than 2022.

Despite the final push, year-over-year handle in Motown was down 31.1%, while gross revenue declined 26.3%, as the 7.7% hold was half a percentage point higher than 2022. Sports betting generated $528,314 in state taxes in 2023, while the city of Detroit claimed $759,207.

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