Detroit Sportsbooks See A Huge Increase In Sports Gambling Revenue In October

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the three Detroit sportsbooks saw a massive increase in gross revenue in October.
MGM Grand Detroit

The three Detroit sportsbooks, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, managed to collect $7.6 million in adjusted sports gambling revenue in the month of October, which marked a 72% increase from September’s $4.4 million, according to statistics released Tuesday by the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB).

The MGCB doesn’t release handle figures, but assuming typical industry hold of 5-7%, the October handle at the Detroit casinos would be around $100 million.

September was the first full month the sportsbooks at MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino Hotel, and Greektown Casino-Hotel were open, and the October numbers are clearly headed in the right direction for the trio.

Breaking it down by property, MGM Grand Detroit took in $3.7 million, MotorCity Casino Hotel reported $2.2 million, and Greektown Casino-Hotel generated $1.7 million.

These numbers are expected to grow exponentially once online sportsbook wagering is given the green light, a process that has taken nearly a year. Last December, the state legislature passed internet gambling legislation, and state regulators have been working towards finalizing the rules and regulations for the licensing of mobile sportsbooks. Final touches are being applied now, and statebRep. Brandt Iden – who spearheaded the push to legalize sports betting – told MI Bets he’s confident online betting will be up and running before the year is out.

The three Detroit casinos paid $287,166 in sportsbook taxes to the state in October, and an additional $350,980 in retail sports betting taxes to the city of Detroit.

Since the Detroit casinos were allowed to start accepting sports bets, the total adjusted gross receipt number sits at $14.1 million, with MGM taking in $6.8 million, MotorCity at $4.3 million, and Greektown with $3 million.

Slots and table game revenue up, but still down year-over-year

Meanwhile, the three casinos took in another $93.8 million in slots and table games, a $5.9 million increase over September’s numbers, but 18.9% lower year-over-year. Obviously, the continued coronavirus pandemic coupled with 15% capacity rules have hampered the bottom line.

The three Detroit casinos were forced to close on March 16 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and weren’t allowed to reopen until August 5 at 15% capacity under an emergency order by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. The governor’s emergency powers were curtailed by the Michigan Supreme Court, but the city of Detroit kept the capacity numbers the same. 

Compared to October 2019, MGM’s revenues were off 22.7% to $37.8 million, MotorCity fell 7.7% to $36.3 million, and Greektown saw a 28.2% drop to $19.7 million.

The three casinos paid a total of $7.6 million to the state of Michigan in taxes in October, down from $9.4 million a year ago. Additionally, the casinos gave the city of Detroit $11.2 million in taxes and development agreements.

Licence renewals

Also on Tuesday, the MGCB renewed the licenses of the three Detroit casinos.

Commercial casino licenses are issued for one-year periods and are renewed on an annual basis after a $25,000 license fee is paid and upon delivery of a required annual report. Additionally, agency staffers investigate the casinos to make sure everything is in shape, checking out the casinos’ capitalization, reputation issues, integrity, and compliance.

Michigan also has more than 20 tribal casinos, which are regulated by the federal government. However, when it comes to online gambling, those casinos will be regulated by the same body as the commercial casinos in the Motor City.


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