Retail Sports Betting Continued Steady Decline At Detroit Casinos In 2023

Written By Drew Ellis on January 11, 2024
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Retail sports betting at the Detroit casinos saw a big jump up in December.

But, last month’s boost in handle and revenue goes against the trend we’ve been seeing for the past two years.

Retail sports betting has been in a consistent decline since it launched in March of 2020.

Coming out of the pandemic, 2021 was the peak for retail sports betting. Things dropped in 2022 and that continued in 2023, with sports betting at the Detroit casinos setting new lows in both handle and revenue.

Retail sports betting handle down over 40% since 2021

The three Detroit casinos saw saw $30.4 million in sports betting handle in December. That was the highest handle the casinos have seen since January of 2022.

It was a surprising number given the continued decline of retail sports betting throughout 2023.

Even with the big December, sports betting handle at the three Detroit casinos in 2023 reached just $181.7 million.

That total was 31.1% down from 2022’s $263.7 million and 41.5% down from 2021’s $310.6 million.

While some could points to the casino workers’ strike for aiding in the low number for 2023 handle, that’s not entirely fair.

Though October and November had just $33.4 million in wagers, both were still among the top five months for 2023 in terms of handle.

It’s hard to say what to expect for retail betting in 2024.

We’ve seen an overall boost in retail and MI online sports betting during this current football season. Retail sports betting seems a little less necessary when online sports betting is available.

Though online casinos can’t replicate all retail casinos offer, online and retail sports betting aren’t much different. Those that can bet from home on their phone are likely to continue to do so as opposed to make a special trip to the casino to place wagers.

Retail sports betting revenue down nearly 50% since 2021

As the wagers have declined, the sports betting revenue has also been on the decline for Detroit’s casinos.

December provided a needed boost for the three casinos, as the $4.8 million in sports betting revenue was the highest monthly total since October of 2020.

The December monthly revenue total ended up accounting for 34% of the year’s $14.1 million total for the year between the three casinos.

Surprisingly, the Detroit casinos actually improved their sports betting revenue during the strike when compared to a year ago.

In October and November, the three casinos combined for $4.2 million in sports betting revenue. In 2022, the three had just $4 million in revenue.

Even with the late surge, Detroit’s casinos finished with $14.1 million in revenue for the year. That was 26.3% down from 2022’s $19.1 million and 48.6% down from 2021’s $27.3 million.

MotorCity Casino sees sports betting growth in 2023

Despite the collective losses, MotorCity Casino actually improved on its retail sports betting handle in 2023.

Partnered with FanDuel for a FanDuel Sportsbook inside the casino, MotorCity drew $65 million in wagers for 2023. That was up 22.6% from the $53 million it collected in wagers in 2022.

Though it had a big uptick in wagers, MotorCity actually collected less sports betting revenue in 2023. This year it had $5.2 million in revenue, compared to $5.8 million a year ago.

Hollywood Casino at Greektown was the retail sports betting king in 2022 with its Barstool Sportsbook, bringing in $132.1 million in wagers. However, it dropped 46.2% in 2023 to just $71.1 million in wagers.

MGM Grand Detroit also saw a big dip in handle at its BetMGM Sportsbook Lounge in 2023. After recording $78.6 million in wagers in 2022, MGM Grand fell 42% in 2023 to $45.6 million.

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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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