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Detroit Casinos Report Lowest Revenue In 22 Years

The ongoing casino workers’ strike is clearly impacting Detroit venues




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Detroit October 2023 casino revenue

The Michigan Gaming Control Board reported combined casino adjusted gross gaming revenue of just $81.7 million from Detroit’s three casinos for October on Tuesday, the lowest non-pandemic total in more than 22 years as a strike by five different industry-related labor unions had a sizable impact.

The figure, which does not include the $1.1 million in AGR created from retail sports wagering, is the lowest reported by the MGCB since the trio combined for $81.5 million in July 2001. More than 3,500 casino workers have been on strike since Oct. 17 after labor talks failed to produce a new contract.

October’s casino revenue is down 18.9% from the comparable month last year and 18.3% from September, when a ninth-month streak of revenues totaling at least $100 million ended by less than $10,000.

The dramatic falloff also resulted in swinging the year-to-date revenue totals to a small decline despite surpassing $1 billion for 2023. The $1.035 billion in AGR is 1.3% lower compared to the first 10 months of 2022, with Greektown Casino’s gains no longer enough to offset losses by MGM Grand and MotorCity Casino.

The state collected more than $6.6 million in taxes for October, and its $83.9 million for the calendar year is $1.1 million lower compared to 2022. The city of Detroit had an inflow of close to $10.1 million for the month, and its coffers have received nearly $132.1 million in 2023. The city’s tax receipts are approximately $2.2 million ahead of last year’s pace.

Steep declines across Motown

MotorCity Casino had the sharpest decline in terms of year-over-year revenue, shedding 22.8% to land at just over $25 million. It was the lowest monthly revenue total for the location outside the COVID-19 pandemic dating back to when it generated $22.8 million in winnings in December 2000.

October also ended a 19-month streak in which MotorCity had at least $30 million in AGR. The downturn also deepened MotorCity’s year-to-date decline versus 2022 for revenue, which is now 5.8% at $314.2 million.

MGM Grand paced the group of three with $37.3 million in winnings, but that was 19.6% lower compared to the previous October and 16.6% off September’s haul of $44.7 million. It was also MGM’s lowest monthly revenue total since claiming $36.1 million in September 2020 with no post-pandemic mitigations in place. After crossing the $500 million threshold in 10 months in 2022, the $482.8 million generated in the same span this year is 3.9% off that pace.

Greektown had a 14-month streak with at least $20 million AGR come to an end as it finished less than $650,000 shy of the benchmark. The PENN Entertainment venue had the lightest year-over-year decline at 11.7%, but its 20.2% drop against September was the sharpest of the trio.

Still, Greektown’s 2023 year-to-date revenue of $238.4 million is 11.9% higher against the same span last year despite its softest monthly total since claiming $18.3 million in January 2001.

Retail sports betting’s rough year continues

Not even a resurgence by the Detroit Lions and a currently undefeated Michigan Wolverines squad look to be enough to lift Motown’s brick-and-mortar sportsbooks from their year-long doldrums. Handle totaled $18.1 million in October, slightly better than September but 23% lower compared to last October.

The house kept $1.1 million, resulting in a collective 6.3% hold. Gross revenue was down 46.9% versus 2022, exacerbated by a win rate nearly three percentage points lower. MotorCity’s FanDuel-powered book finally swung back into the black for 2023, as the $677,818 in October winnings erased the last of a miserable four-month stretch from April to July in which it paid out almost $2 million above the $14 million in accepted wagers.

Greektown Casino’s roller coaster rode the dip in October as the book came out barely more than $90,000 to the good from $7.5 million handle. The book’s hold has gone from 12.1% in July to 0.9% in August to 10.2% in September to 1.2% in October. It also went from 20.6% in April to 0.4% in May.

MGM Grand found a sweet spot of sorts between its brethren, crafting a 7.8% hold to claim nearly $365,000 in winnings from $4.7 million handle. Its win rate was seven percentage points higher than September, as it topped the 7% industry standard for the first time since May.

Year-to-date handle in Detroit has plunged 40.8% compared to last year to $136 million, but the 4.5% hold — nearly one-third lower versus the first 10 months of 2022 — has made revenue declines deeper at 60.3% with $6.2 million in gross revenue.

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