A series of six-figure parlay payouts totaling more than $2.6 million at MotorCity Casino tied to UConn winning the NCAA Tournament title resulted in a $1.7 million loss for the FanDuel-powered sportsbook, the largest monthly retail sports wagering loss in state history. The historic payout led to an overall gross revenue loss for Detroit’s three brick-and-mortar venues in April, according to figures released by the Michigan Gaming Control Board on Tuesday.
The MGCB also reported a dip in casino gaming revenue in April compared to March, with the $109.6 million generated 6.9% lower than March’s $117.8 million haul. MGM Grand, MotorCity, and Greektown have combined for $435.8 million in revenue outside of sports betting through the first four months of 2023, 0.8% higher than the comparable period last year.
The state received close to $8.9 million in casino gaming taxes, and $69,237 from sports wagering. The city of Detroit’s coffers received just over $13 million in casino tax receipts and $84,623 from the sportsbooks.
Buying the UConn dip pays off in handsome fashion
A savvy bettor made four, $10,000 two-leg parlay wagers, tying each of them to UConn winning the NCAA Tournament at +3500. Though the exact date of the wagers is unknown, it came when the Huskies were mired in a swoon — they dropped five of seven games from Dec. 31-Jan. 25 after starting the season 14-0. But in order to have an opportunity at such a payday, the first legs of those parlays had to hit.
The first parlay, graded at +6773, was coupled with taking the under at 46.5 points at -110 in the NFC Championship game between the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers, which hit in relatively easy fashion as the Eagles won 31-7. The other three parlay wagers were made in tandem with the Super Bowl as the bettor took the Kansas City Chiefs on the moneyline at +102, +1.5 points at -110, and +3.5 points at -166. Those parlays graded at +7172, +6773, and +5669, respectively.
All three hit as the Chiefs defeated the Eagles 38-35. The bettor then had to wait nearly five weeks before UConn would play its first-round NCAA Tournament game against Iona. The Huskies would win that one — and the next five — by double digits en route to their fifth title in school history, giving the bettor payouts of nearly $2 million from the three Super Bowl parlays and $677,273 on the parlay with the NFC title game.
It was the first time a Detroit-based sportsbook posted a seven-figure monthly retail loss since the first wagers were placed in March 2020. MotorCity had posted just three losing months previously, also having the old record for a monthly loss in February 2022 when it paid out nearly $400,000 above $4.4 million handle. April’s payouts also wiped out what would have been MotorCity’s best month since November 2021 as it claimed $987,785 in gross revenue from more than $4.1 million handle for a 23.9% hold on all other wagers.
Greektown, however, posted its best monthly revenue since last May, fashioning a 20.6% win rate to claim nearly $1.4 million from $6.8 million handle. It was the fifth time it had a monthly revenue above $1 million and more than doubled the Barstool Sportsbook year-to-date revenue to more than $2.4 million.
MGM Grand landed in the middle with nearly $277,000 in gross revenue from more than $4.3 million in accepted bets for a 6.4% hold. The sportsbook also had an upward adjustment of more than $155,000, resulting in taxable revenue totaling more than $432,000.
Still, the year-over-year retail numbers in the Wolverine State show a stark decline. Handle is down 49.5% versus the first four months at $56.7 million, while gross revenue has fallen off by more than $2.9 million (58.9%) to just over $2 million. Bettors have also fared better versus 2022, with the 3.6% hold lower by more than 0.8 percentage points.
Greektown the lone casino with year-over-year growth
It was going to be difficult to match last year’s total for casino revenue as the $116.9 million in April 2022 was the second-highest total of any month. Greektown put up the best fight, as the PENN Entertainment venue saw revenue tick 6.3% higher versus April 2022 to nearly $25.2 million. Its year-to-date revenue of $99.4 million is 10.1% higher than the comparable period last year, and Greektown is the only casino of the three in Detroit to have year-over-year growth through the first four months.
Though MGM Grand narrowly extended its streak with $50 million in revenue to five months, the $50.2 million generated was 11.5% lower than last April — its $56.8 million from that month was its best dating back to the start of last year. MGM Grand is still the runaway leader in casino revenue at more than $204.9 million in 2023, which is 1.3% lower than last year.
MotorCity Casino posted $34.2 million in revenue for April, which was 6.1% lower versus 2022 and 4.3% off March’s total of almost $35.8 million. While MotorCity has the largest loss in terms of percentage among the three Detroit venues, the $131.5 million is just 2.3% off last year’s total.
State taxes from casino gaming for 2023 are relatively flat compared to last year, with the $35.3 million less than $280,000 above 2022’s total for the first four months. The city of Detroit, though, has seen an increased inflow of more than $4.4 million from last year to nearly $55.9 million.
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