Detroit Casino Revenue Down 29 Percent Without iGaming, Mobile Sports Bets

Posted on: March 9, 2021, 01:47h. 

Last updated on: July 19, 2021, 02:58h.

Detroit’s three casinos collectively won just shy of $86.4 million last month. While that’s a 29 percent year-over-year decline, there’s more to the health of Michigan’s commercial gaming industry than revealed in the monthly report. 

Detroit casinos gaming sports betting
A blackjack dealer at MGM Grand Detroit is seen here last August. The city’s three casinos reported a 29 percent reduction in February’s land-based casino win. (Image: Associated Press)

The February gross gaming revenue (GGR) statement provided by the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) represents wins generated by brick-and-mortar slot machines and table games. It also includes money won from in-person retail sports betting. Retail sports betting went live a year ago this month. 

Slot machines and table games at MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity, and Greektown kept $86.46 million of gamblers’ money. The casinos’ three retail sportsbooks lost $77,627. Slots, tables, and sportsbooks combined for revenue of $86.38 million. That’s approximately $35.3 million less than February 2020. 

MGM led the way last month, the casino reporting GGR of $34.4 million. MotorCity was next at $31.2 million, and Greektown third at $20.8 million. 

February 2021 marked only the second full month that the Detroit casinos were allowed to operate following an extended, state-ordered shutdown in November that ran until December 21. 

Revenue to Be Added

A year-over-year GGR reduction of almost 30 percent might sound alarming. However, it’s not as bad as it seems.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Michigan joined only New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia in allowing its residents to gamble online. Interactive slot machines and table games, as well as mobile sports betting, went live in January of 2021. 

The MGCB plans to release iGaming and online sports betting revenue for February next week.  

Online oddsmakers and internet casino platforms were only active for the final 10 days of January. 

Handle, or the amount wagered on sports totaled $115.2 million during the less than a two-week period. The robust activity had to do with an abundance of promotional offerings from mobile sportsbooks, as they look to grab up market share. Oddsmakers kept $13.3 million of the bets. Internet gaming operators reported a GGR of $29.4 million. 

Off to a good start,” recapped MGCB Executive Director Richard Kalm. 

GGR from internet sports betting is taxed at a rate of 8.4 percent. Online casino revenue is subject to a 20-28 percent tax, the final rate dependent on yearly gross win. 

Favorable Comparisons

iGaming and mobile sports betting will help reduce that 29 percent year-over-year GGR February decline. In the months ahead, Detroit’s commercial gaming industry has very favorable contrasts. 

February 2020 was the last month that the three casinos were free to operate without restrictions. They were forced to fully shutter their resorts in mid-March of last year on Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) orders. 

GGR totaled $0 in April, May, June, and July. They were permitted to reopen on August 5, but at a maximum capacity of only 15 percent — the lowest state-ordered operating restriction for a commercial casino.

The casinos were again ordered to close effective Nov. 18, which ran through Dec. 20.