Detroit Casino November Revenue Torpedoed By Coronavirus And Associated Shutdowns

With the three Detroit casinos forced to close on Nov. 18 due to the coronavirus, gaming revenue numbers took a dramatic hit.
torpedo underwater

The three Detroit sportsbooks collected $2.3 million in adjusted sports gambling revenue in November, a paltry number made only a little more comforting with the knowledge that the casinos have been closed since Nov. 18 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The $2.3 million number is a far cry from the $7.6 million collected in October, which was a 72% increase from September’s $4.4 million. December’s numbers are sure to be even worse, with Dec. 20 the earliest the casinos will be allowed to reopen due to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s shutdown order being extended last week. 

Total handle on the sportsbook side for November was $25,080,140. Qualified adjusted gross receipts for retail sports betting were MotorCity at $1,130,956, Greektown at $645,310, and MGM at $561,372. According to the Michigan Gaming Control Board — the government entity that releases the numbers — qualified adjusted gross receipts are “gross sports betting receipts minus the monetary value of free play incentives provided to and wagered by bettors.”

Through Nov. 30, qualified adjusted gross receipts for the year have MGM at $7.4 million, MotorCity at $5.4 million, and Greektown at $3.6 million.

As for table and slot games, the casinos generated $48.1 million in revenue. That number was off by 61.3% compared with November 2019, and down 48.7% percent compared with October’s numbers. In all, and through Nov. 30, table games and slots revenue were down 54.9% compared with January through November 2019 results.

For the month of November, the trio of Detroit casinos paid $3.9 million in gaming taxes to Michigan, off $10.1 million year-over-year. The casinos also paid $5.7 million in wagering taxes and other payments to Detroit during the month. Additionally, the casinos paid $88,363 in state taxes and $107,999 in retail sports betting taxes to the city.

The November market shares based on total aggregate revenue were MGM at 42%, MotorCity at 37%, and Greektown at 21%.

Coronavirus blues

Clearly, the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on the Detroit casinos, starting back on March 16 when they were first forced to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They reopened on Aug. 5 at 15% capacity under an emergency order by Whitmer. The governor’s emergency powers were curtailed by the Michigan Supreme Court, but the city of Detroit kept the capacity numbers the same. 

Whitmer then ordered the casinos — as well as most indoor non-essential activities — closed as of Nov. 18.

In addition to the casinos reopening at some point, there is also more light at the end of the tunnel in the form of online casinos and sports betting, which have cleared all legislative hurdles and are on track to debut in the state by mid-January 2021 at the latest.


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