Strike Gives Detroit Casinos Lowest Revenue Since December 2020

Written By Drew Ellis on November 14, 2023 - Last Updated on November 15, 2023
Image of Detroit casino workers on strike in front of Detroit skyline for story on how the strike gave Detroit casinos their worst month of revenue — October 2023 — since 2020

The ongoing Detroit casino workers’ strike had a clear, negative impact on revenue for the three Detroit casinos in October.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board reported on Tuesday that the Detroit casinos made $81.7 million in revenue from slots and table games in October. That’s the lowest total the casinos have had since December of 2020 when the casinos were closed for most of the month.

It is also in the revenue range PlayMichigan projected for the month.

Along with the losses from gaming, retail sports betting recorded $18.1 million in handle and $1.1 million in revenue. The handle was a 23% decline from October 2022 ($23.5 million).

Casino revenue drops nearly 20% year-over-year

The $81.7 million in gaming revenue for the three Detroit casinos is a 19% decline from the $100.8 million they made in October of 2022.

This is a significant decline for three of the biggest Michigan casinos by revenue and leads to notable tax revenue declines.

The three casinos contributed $6.6 million in state tax revenue and $10.1 million in city of Detroit tax revenue. Those are also 19% drops from October 2022. Collectively, it is $3.9 million less in overall tax revenue for Detroit and the state combined.

These losses come from just 14 days of a workers’ strike in October.

Retail sports betting drops during NFL season

The strike also had a notable impact on the retail sports betting for October.

Typically one of the strongest months of sports betting in Michigan, the handle declined by 23% to just $18.1 million in October. It also is the lowest October handle the casinos have seen since retail sports betting has been legal in the state.

Retail sports betting revenue also declined by 46.9% year-over-year, dropping from $2.1 million to $1.1 million.

The one casino to see the most notable decline in retail sports betting in October was MGM Grand Detroit. It recorded just $4.7 million in handle, which was the lowest of the three retail casinos for the month. It was also a 51.1% drop from the $9.6 million it recorded in October 2022.

Which Detroit casino was hit hardest by the strike?

When looking at the casino gaming revenue of each of the three casinos, we get a better feel for which of the three is being hurt the most by the strike.

Prior to October, here’s what each of the three casinos was averaging in monthly slot and table game revenue through the first nine months of 2023.

  • MGM Grand Detroit: $49.5 million
  • MotorCity Casino: $32.1 million
  • Hollywood Casino at Greektown: $24.3 million

Here’s the slot and table game revenue each had in October.

  • MGM Grand Detroit: $37.3 million (24.6% below average)
  • MotorCity Casino: $25 million (22.1% below average)
  • Hollywood Casino at Greektown: $19.4 million (20.2% below average)

All are seeing similar gaming losses. But, the MGM Grand Detroit had the biggest percentage decline in October compared to what it had been averaging. When adding in the biggest sports betting decline as well, it’s clear MGM Grand Detroit is being hit the hardest.

Keep in mind that this is still just half of a month of strike data. November is already 14 days in with no end to the strike in sight.

Next month is likely to see even greater losses for the three casinos.

Photo by Drew Ellis / 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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