When It Comes To Casino Revenue, Detroit’s Loss Is Toledo’s Gain

Posted on August 13, 2020 - Last Updated on August 18, 2020

Well, there was at least one winner while Detroit casinos were shut down.

Until last week, no legal bets were made in the Motor City for more than five months, and online gambling is still awaiting launch in Michigan.

But there’s a historic summer going on south of the Ohio state line.

Hollywood Casino in Toledo raked in record revenue during July while Detroit’s casinos remained closed about 60 miles north up Interstate 75.

Detroit’s Greektown Casino-Hotel, MGM Grand Detroit and MotorCity Casino finally reopened last week with 15% capacity restrictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the Detroit gambling houses now open, we’ll see how much August revenue is impacted in the Buckeye State.

Hollywood Casino sets Ohio record with July revenue

July was the first full month for the return of gambling in Ohio as Gov. Mike DeWine allowed casinos to reopen on June 19.

The casinos cashed in.

Hollywood Casino had $33 million in July revenue, the highest monthly total for any casino since four opened in 2012. In July 2019, Hollywood brought in less than $17 million.

Prior to last month, Ohio’s all-time monthly revenue record at a single casino was at Horseshoe Cleveland Casino. That house, owned by Michigan’s Dan Gilbert, earned over $26 million in June 2012, its first full month of operations.

Michigan gamblers clearly helped Toledo’s boom

Jessica Franks, a spokesperson for the Ohio Casino Control Commission, told the Toledo Blade that out-of-state gamblers were a big cause, particularly those from the Great Lakes State.

That makes sense: The Canadian border to Caesars Windsor has been closed, and the nearest Michigan tribal casinos are about a two-hour drive from metro Detroit.

“As best we can figure, Detroit’s three casinos have been closed until last week. And with the proximity of the Toledo casino to the Detroit area, we think a lot of those folks in Detroit came down to Toledo for gaming,” she told the newspaper.

“It’ll be interesting to see what happens now that the Detroit casinos have reopened. We’re kind of curious as to what happens next month.”

The four land-based Ohio casinos earned $86 million in revenue in July. That’s a 22% increase over July 2019, when total gaming revenue was $70 million.

Detroit casinos should cut into Ohio’s August

Just like now in Detroit, the Ohio casinos have provisions for safety. There are a limited number of slot machines open and the poker room is closed temporarily.

But there’s a big hole for Detroit’s casinos to climb out of to make up for the lost time.

Through July, Detroit’s casinos were down 65% in year-over-year revenue from 2019. That’s after being closed for nearly five months beginning on March 16.

The shortfall hurts corporate owners in addition to leaving gaping holes in budgets for the state and city of Detroit.

But at least down south, someone has benefited.

Matt Schoch Avatar
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Matt Schoch

A Michigan native, Matt has worked at newspapers in Michigan, Missouri and the Virgin Islands. A versatile sports reporter, Matt has covered sailing on the Great Lakes, cricket in the Caribbean, high school and pro playoffs, and the Olympics in Rio. He's also the host of the Locked On Pistons Podcast and producer of a documentary on Emoni Bates. A former blackjack dealer, Matt has studied the industry from all sides.

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