Detroit Casino Revenue Flat In January As Online Gambling Bill On Horizon

Extreme winter weather kept winnings on ice for the Detroit casinos, bolstering the case for legalized online gambling.
Detroit manhole

A frigid January created a lackluster month for Michigan’s three commercial casinos in the city of Detroit.

According to figures from the Michigan Gaming Control Board, the casinos generated a combined $112 mm in gambling winnings last month, up just 0.5% compared to January 2018. In a month-over-month comparison, revenue was down 12.1%.

The subpar result in January follows a record-breaking year for the casinos. In 2018, the casino market posted $1.44 billion in gaming revenue, up 3.1% over 2017 and up 1.4% over the previous high set in 2011.

MGM continues to gain market share

MGM Grand Detroit continued its slow and steady market share gains last month. In 2018, the casino had 43% of the city’s gaming revenue, up from 42% in 2017.

Last month, MGM had 44% of the market with $48.9 mm in gambling win. MGM’s revenue was up 2.5% year-over-year.

The MotorCity Casino saw revenue of $37.4 mm, down 1.5% year-over-year. Greektown Casino was at the rear of the group with $25.7 mm, down 0.1% year-over-year, according to the MGCB. Hope for the casino is on the horizon, as in November 2018, industry veterans Penn National Gaming and Vici Properties entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the property for $300 million. The deal is expected to close sometime this year.

The revenue market shares for January were:

  • MGM: 44%
  • MotorCity: 33%
  • Greektown: 23%

The state received more than $9 mm in gaming taxes from the three casinos during January, down slightly year-over-year. The three casinos reported submitting $13.3 mm in wagering taxes and development agreement payments to the city of Detroit during January.

Gaming bills from last session starting to trickle in

While we’re all waiting for the reintroduction of the Michigan Lawful Internet Gaming Act that was vetoed in late December, other gambling-related bills that were part of a package of legislation shot down by former Gov. Rick Snyder are starting to hit the table once again.

On Jan. 15, Senate Bill 12 was introduced, which would try again at legalizing advance deposit wagering (effectively mobile betting) for Michigan racetracks. In addition, a charity gambling bill was also reintroduced. The internet gaming bill, like other legislation that failed last year, is expected to be virtually the same as its predecessor legislation.

Unlike many other states, Michigan has all year to discuss legislation, as the session doesn’t end until December.

Rep. Brandt Iden, a Republican who sponsored the Lawful Internet Gaming Act, expressed confidence late last month during an ICE North American webinar on internet gaming.

“The bills that came out of the legislature had tremendous bipartisan support, veto-proof support,” Iden said. “If we had had more time I believe we would have discussed an override. We’re going to get right back on the horse and go after [online gambling again].”

Part of the bill is expected to pave the way for Michigan sports betting as well.


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