Detroit Casino Revenue Sees 60% Drop Due To Ongoing Closures

Detroit’s three casino properties remain closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The closures, which started in March and have continued into July, have caused a 60% drop in revenue for the city’s casinos compared to this time last year.

Michigan’s largest city is home to three gambling properties: Greektown Casino, Motor City Casino, and MGM Grand Detroit. All three casinos are closed until Governor Gretchen Whitmer allows them to reopen. 

Detroit By The Numbers

The Associated Press reports that Detroit’s casinos earned $299.2 million in revenue in the first half of 2020. This marks a 59.3% decrease from the same period in 2019 when Detroit’s casino properties reported $735.4 million in revenue. 

Michigan receives 8.1% of net winnings from casinos, and Detroit receives 10.9% from its three properties according to the Michigan Gaming Control Board. This has brought gambling tax revenue for the state to a complete halt due to the closures that have stretched from March through to the present day. 

Wagering tax gives Detroit a glimmer of hope. In 2020 to-date, Detroit has collected $35.6 million from wagering taxes. Despite the relief, this is still a large decrease from the first half of 2019, which earned the city $87.5 million in wagering taxes.  

Tribal Competition

Meanwhile, many of Michigan’s 23 tribal properties have reopened. Some opened their doors as early as mid-may following more than a month of voluntary closures. Because they are governed by a separate commission, tribal properties are not regulated by the state, and thus are not subject to the state’s restrictions with regard to Covid-19 closures.

This puts Detroit’s commercial properties in a precarious position as their in-state tribal competitors open their doors to players even in a truncated capacity. 

Early Online Betting Bill Offers Hope

In mid-June, Michigan lawmakers introduced a bill that would fast-track legal online gambling in the state. The bill aims to boost online gambling revenue for Michigan operators without relying purely on land-based revenue. 

Currently, Senate Bill 969 is with the state’s committee on regulatory reform. If passed, the measure could bring online gambling to Michigan as early as October or November this year, rather than the originally planned 2021 launch.

About the Author

Cole Rush

Cole Rush is a Chicago-based freelance writer in the gambling, media, and entertainment space. His work has been showcased in various gaming industry magazines and online columns. Prior to freelance writing, Cole spent seven years in communications at a gambling and lottery supplier.