Detroit Commercial Casinos See Strong Revenue Gain Ahead Of Retail Sports Wagering

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An extra Friday last month and relatively warm weather likely helped propel the three Detroit commercial casinos to a strong year-over-year revenue uptick during January.

According to figures from the Michigan Gaming Control Board, the casinos — MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino, and Greektown Casino — collectively won $120 million from gamblers, a 7.1% increase compared to what they took in during January 2019.

Per data compiled by the University of Nevada Las Vegas Center for Gaming Research, it’s the best month in terms of year-over-year revenue gain since the casinos reported 8.1% more in winnings in August 2018 compared to August 2017.

The casinos are soon expected to see a relatively significant gain in revenue thanks to retail sports wagering, expected to kick off this spring. The MGCB is currently working on authorizing the casinos to take their first retail bets in the coming weeks. Online/mobile sports gambling won’t come until sometime in 2021, according to comments the MGCB made recently to the Associated Press.

Retail sports wagering should grow the Detroit casino market by at least $2 million per month in revenue compared to 2019, based on the performances of retail sportsbooks in northwest Indiana. The ideal scenario for Michigan would be to see legal betting begin during the popular March Madness tournament.

In addition to sports wagering, Michigan policymakers last year passed online casino legislation. That form of gaming also isn’t expected to begin until 2021.

Results by casino

MGM Grand Detroit led with market share of 42% last month, but its revenue gain was the lowest among the three non-tribal gaming properties.

Compared with January 2019 results, MotorCity’s $41.8 million in monthly revenue was an 11.7% year-over-year increase. Meanwhile, Greektown revenue of $28.2 million was 9.8% higher than January 2019. MGM revenue rose 2.1% to nearly $50 million.

MGM could be first with a retail sportsbook, as the property in October unveiled a $6 million sports lounge that will be home to its upcoming book.

The casino company has been busy on the sports betting front. On Tuesday, it launched its online/mobile sports betting product BetMGM in neighboring Indiana.

In Indiana and elsewhere, BetMGM and Buffalo Wild Wings are partnered so that visitors to the restaurant chain can receive special promotions via the platform. Under the deal, Buffalo Wild Wings locations will display custom sportsbook content provided by BetMGM.

There’s a Buffalo Wild Wings location in the northeast corner of Indiana, right across the border from Michigan. It’s a roughly two-hour drive from Detroit.

Hoosiers and Michiganders don’t have to stop at a Buffalo Wild Wings to wager on BetMGM. The app is accessible statewide, and customers can register remotely.

Brian Pempus

Brian served as a senior reporter and online content manager for Card Player Magazine for nearly a decade before joining USBets in October 2018. He is currently focused on legal and regulated sports betting and online gaming. He's an avid jiu-jitsu practitioner in his free time.

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