Michigan Tribal Casinos Experience Payment Decline In Second Straight Year

Written By Corey Sharp on April 23, 2024
Two large black and white casino chips - one features a tribal feather logo and the other features the outline of the state of Michigan. Michigan tribal casinos display a 1.4% decrease in gaming payments, according to a report released by the MGCB.

The 23 tribal casinos in Michigan reported a decrease in gaming payments in 2023 for the second straight year.

According to the 2023 Tribal Gaming Report released by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, the state’s tribal casinos saw a 1.4% decrease in payments to local entities last year.

Tribal casinos make up a large portion of the casinos in Michigan, 23 of the 26 to be exact, with the other three located in downtown Detroit. The revenue report discloses the payments tribes make to local units of state government based on slot revenue from their Class III machines.

Michigan tribal casinos payment down 1.5% from 2022

The report issued by the MGCB is the only type of revenue information tribal casinos offer. The payments the tribes make represents roughly 2% of the casino’s respective net win accrued over the year.

For a second straight year, payments are down slightly.

There are 12 tribes that operate 23 casinos across the Great Lakes State, with Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians running the most with five.

Tribal casinos made a $30.4 million payment in 2023, compared to $30.8 million the year prior. Here’s a breakdown of payments and percentage changes since 2021:

Tribe2021 payment2022 payment2023 paymentChange 2022-23Change 2021-23
Bay Mills$340,688$329,502$379,020+15%+11.3%
Grand Traverse Band$1,383794$1,344,666$1,415,317+5%+2.3%
Gun Lake$4,243,082$4,272,440$4,311,322+0.9%+1.6%
Keweenaw Bay$754,687$725,721$715,994-1.3%-5.1%
Lac Vieux Desert Band$291,596$273,875$269,644 -1.5%-7.5%
Little River Band$1,463,331$1,498,279$1,537,162 +2.6%+5%
Little Traverse Bay Bands$1,150,137$1,112,296$1,154,910 +3.8%+0.4%
Nottawaseppi Huron Band$6,397,613$6,196,103$6,254,876 +0.9%-2.2%
Pokagon Band$6,120,250$5,578,183$4,910,664 -12%-19.8%
Saginaw Chippewa$7,023,782$6,916,589$6,592,460-4.7%-6.1%
Sault Ste. Marie$1,214,061$1,364,104$1,606,102+17.7%+32.3%

Four Michigan tribal casino operators saw payments decline

In 2022, eight casinos saw a decline in their 2% payments. Even though this year only saw four, one tribe represented a drastic decrease:

  • Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians: Operating three Four Winds Casinos, this tribe experienced the worst fall of 12%. Pokagon Band also reported an 8.9% dip in 2022, also the largest.
  • Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe: This tribe, owning three Saganing Eagles locations, had the next largest decline of 4%.
  • Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians: Operating Northern Waters Casino Resort in Watersmeet saw a 1.5% decrease from 2022. It was an improvement from the 6.1% decline from 2022.
  • Keweenaw Bay Indian Community: The tribe that runs Ojibwa Casinos in Baraga and Marquette had the smallest decrease of 1.3%.

Eight Michigan tribal casino operators increase payments

Despite eight tribal casinos displaying payment increase, it wasn’t able to overcome the losses from the other four tribes. Here are the top four tribes showing the highest increases last year:

  • Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians: The owners of Kewadin Casinos, for the second straight year, experienced the highest increase of 17.7%. In 2022, the tribe improved 12.4%.
  • Bay Mills: Running Bay Mills Resort & Casino in Brimley, this tribe rose 15% in 2023, up from -3.3% in 2022.
  • Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians: Operating Leelanau Sands Casino and Turtle Creek, Grand Traverse’s payment increased 5% last year.
  • Little Traverse Bay Band of Ottawa Indians: After declining 3.3% in 2022, Little Traverse saw the fourth-highest increase of 3.8% in 2023. This tribe owns Odawa Casinos in Mackinaw City and Petoskey.
Photo by PlayMichigan
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Corey Sharp

Corey Sharp joined Catena Media in 2022 and is the go-to expert for Michigan gambling. Born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, he previously worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer and NBC Sports Philadelphia as a sports journalist and content producer. In Corey’s role as Lead Writer for PlayMichigan, he works alongside a talented team of expert journalists and analysts to bring you the most comprehensive and accurate coverage of gambling news in Michigan. Corey’s contacts around the industry makes him a trusted source. Corey produces daily stories and features about the gambling space. Corey graduated from Holy Family University in Philadelphia with a bachelor’s degree in sports management.

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