Detroit Casinos Report 6.3 Percent Revenue Increase, Motor City Gaming Off to Fast 2020 Start

Posted on: March 11, 2020, 10:19h. 

Last updated on: March 11, 2020, 03:45h.

Detroit casinos collectively won $121.7 million last month, a 6.3 percent year-over-year increase.

Detroit casinos revenue MGM Grand
MGM Grand helped Detroit casinos increase their gross gaming revenue in January and February. (Image: Paul Sancya/AP)

MGM Grand Detroit was the biggest winner in February, the casino floor raking in $52.6 million. MotorCity was second at $40.5 million, and Greektown third at $28.6 million.

In the first two months of the year, the three commercial properties are 6.7 percent ahead of where they were in 2019.

Detroit’s casinos are fresh off a record year in which they won $1.454 billion in gross gaming revenue (GGR). MGM Grand and MotorCity both experienced their highest yearly adjusted gross revenue total since they opened back in 1999.

The MotorCity Casino is owned by Ilitch Holdings, the empire of billionaire Marian Ilitch and her late husband Mike – the founders of the Little Caesars pizza chain. The family also owns the MLB Detroit Tigers and NHL Detroit Red Wings.

Greektown was recently sold by Rocket Mortgage billionaire Dan Gilbert to Caesars Entertainment’s real estate investment trust VICI Properties. It’s operated by Penn National Gaming.

Coronavirus Arrives

Detroit’s three casinos enjoyed a strong February despite the ongoing COVID-19 novel coronavirus disease. On Tuesday, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) confirmed the first cases of the deadly virus in the state.

The patients are located in Wayne and Oakland counties. Detroit is the county seat of Wayne.

The City of Detroit announced on Monday that it was restoring water to thousands of households that hadn’t paid their water bills in an effort to contain the coronavirus spread.

We know that washing hands is an important defense to this virus, so for the duration of the COVID-19 situation, Detroit Water and Sewage Department (DWSD) is implementing this plan to help make sure every Detroiter has access to clean running water,” DWSD Director Gary Brown said in a release.

The Detroit casinos are also closely monitoring the situation. “We are proactively communicating with our employees on the guidance from the CDC regarding prevention,” MGM Grand Detroit President Davis Tsai explained.

The casinos are increasing their cleaning schedules, and have placed hand sanitizer dispensing stations in high-traffic areas.

Sports Betting Assist

March is shaping up to be a prosperous month for the Detroit casinos with the introduction of sports betting. Beginning today at 1 pm ET, regulated sports bets can be wagered at the brick-and-mortar facilities.

With single-game sports betting prohibited across the Detroit River at Caesars Windsor, traffic from Canada is expected to flow to the sportsbooks just in time for NCAA March Madness.

Mobile wagering is being postponed until 2021, the Michigan Gaming Control Board saying more time is needed to finalize regulations governing online wagering.

Sportsbook licenses cost $100,000 upfront, with an annual renewal at $50,000. The state will collect 8.4 percent of the net revenue from sports betting, and Detroit 3.25 percent.

MGM Grand Detroit and Greektown took their first bets today at the 1 pm ET kickoff. MotorCity is launching its sports betting operations at 10 a.m. Thursday.