Detroit Casinos See Big Drop In Gambling Revenue In January

Written By Drew Ellis on February 13, 2024 - Last Updated on February 15, 2024
Detroit skyline with ice on the Detroit River. Detroit's three casinos saw a big drop in slot and table game revenue during January, while sports betting stayed up.

Detroit casinos were not able to build off their strong finish to 2023 in January of 2024.

The three casinos collected just $93.9 million in slots and table game revenue for the first month of the year.

That was the lowest monthly revenue total that wasn’t impacted by the workers’ strike or COVID limitations since June of 2005 ($92.6 million)

The January 2024 revenue was a 9.1% drop from January of 2023 ($103.4 million) and a 15.7% drop from December’s $111.4 million.

Retail sports betting at the three Detroit casinos took in $24.2 million in handle. That was a 20.4% drop from December’s $30.4 million in handle. However, it is a 58.3% increase from January of 2023 ($15.3 million).

Detroit casinos see concerning gambling revenue

The $93.9 million in revenue has to be somewhat of an eye-opener for the casinos.

Outside of the COVID pandemic and the workers’ strike, getting to $100 million between the three casinos was never much of an issue.

By comparison, the lows the Detroit casinos hit for gambling revenue during those periods were:

  • November 2023 (workers’ strike): $76 million
  • October 2023 (workers’ strike): $81.7 million
  • February 2021 (COVID limitations): $86.5 million
  • January 2021 (COVID limitations): $86.8 million

Nine of the 12 months of 2020 were also lower, but the casinos were closed for four months of the year and faced limited capacity when open for most other months.

January and February, before the pandemic started, both went over $120 million in monthly revenue. October of 2020 actually collected $93.9 million in revenue as well.

All three Detroit casinos see year-over-year decline in January

Each of the three Detroit casinos saw their slot and table game revenue in January decline when compared to January 2023.

Here’s how it played out for each casino last month and how much of a dip it was from a year ago:

These numbers are also surprising considering that the three Detroit casinos averaged $106.5 million in monthly revenue for 2023 when taking out the two months where the strike impacted business. That average was ahead of 2022, where the Detroit casinos averaged $104.7 million per month.

Due to the decline, the three casinos only drew $7.6 million in state tax revenue and $11.2 million in city of Detroit tax revenue from their slots and table games.

Retail sports betting stays up during Lions playoff push

Retail sports betting at the Detroit casinos had another solid showing. One could argue the Detroit Lions’ playoff run may have had a hand in that.

Following a $30.4 million handle in December, the casinos followed that up with $24.2 million in January. Outside of December’s total handle, January’s mark was the second-highest mark for the Detroit casinos since April of 2022.

The big reason for January’s solid month was both MotorCity Casino and Hollywood Casino at Greektown saw massive year-over-year handle increases.

Here’s a look at how each of the Michigan sportsbooks did in January compared to January 2023:

  • MotorCity Casino: $9.8 million handle, 164.8% increase
  • Hollywood Casino at Greektown: $9.1 million handle, 55.2% increase
  • MGM Grand Detroit: $5.3 million handle, 7.8% decline

The three sportsbooks brought in $520,988 in sports betting revenue for the month, which was quite a drop from December’s $4.8 million in revenue. The hold for the three sportsbooks in January was just 2.2%.

Hollywood Casino at Greektown actually lost over $1 million in revenue in January despite its $9.1 million in wagers.

The three retail sportsbooks generated $58,073 in state tax revenue and $70,978 in city of Detroit tax revenue.

Photo by PlayMichigan
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Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis is the Lead Writer of PlayMichigan, the No. 1 source for online gambling news in Michigan. A lifelong resident of the state, Ellis has been working in various forms of media since 1998, including more than a decade in the sports betting industry prior to transitioning into US casino markets in 2020.

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