Detroit Casinos Report Record Gross Gaming Revenue, Join Ohio and Maryland in March Success

Posted on: April 13, 2018, 12:00h. 

Last updated on: April 13, 2018, 07:44h.

Detroit casinos collectively won $138.6 million in gross gaming revenue (GGR) in March, their largest monthly take in history.

Detroit casinos March revenue
Gamblers kept seats occupied inside Detroit casinos in record fashion last month. (Image: Fabrizio Costantini/The Wall Street Journal)

MGM Grand Detroit led the way with $58.1 million, a 7.3 percent increase on March 2017 and the casino’s best monthly performance in its 18-year history. MotorCity was next with $49.3 million in GGR, a more than nine percent premium on 2017 and also a new venue high.

Detroit’s third casino, Greektown, reported total revenue of $31.2 million, a 2.3 percent decline.

The $138.6 million communal take is $3.3 million more than the casinos’ previous all-time best set in March 2012.

Despite the strong March, the Detroit casinos were flat in the first quarter of 2018. Aggregate revenue of $360.2 million is a marginal 0.2 percent decline compared to 2017.

Greektown is pulling MGM and MotorCity down. While the latter two casinos are respectively up 1.6 percent and 1.2 percent in the first three months, Greektown is in the red 4.7 percent.

April Looks Promising

The three Detroit casinos are the only commercial gaming venues in Michigan. The state is also home to tribal casinos and parimutuel racetracks.

In response to Casino Windsor (later renamed Caesars Windsor) opening just across the Detroit River and the US-Canada border in the late 90s, Detroit voted to authorize three commercial gambling venues.

MGM Grand and MotorCity opened in 1999, and Greektown the following year. The three properties have recently seen their GGRs grow about one percent annually after suffering three years of declines between 2012 and 2014.

Total gaming win was $1.376 billion in 2015, $1.385 million in 2016, and $1.4 billion in 2017.

Though they’re basically flat so far in 2018, April could provide another fiscal boost due to an ongoing strike at Caesars Windsor. Union employees walked off the job last weekend after refusing a proposed contract that initially increased pay by $0.75 per hour.

In a tweet, Caesars Windsor explained, “We are making the very difficult decision to postpone Colosseum shows, Total Rewards promotions, conventions, events, and meetings for the remainder of April, as well as canceling all April hotel reservations.”

The Canadian casino resort’s temporary shuttering means patrons looking to gamble will need to make their way elsewhere, with Detroit being the closest option.

Marching Past Records

Detroit casinos weren’t the only locale to enjoy a prosperous March.

Maryland’s six casinos posted a combined $150 million GGR win, the highest in state history and a more than six percent increase on the same month in 2017. The mark easily surpassed the previous high, which came a year ago with $141.1 million.

Ohio casinos also recorded all-time revenue, with the Buckeye State’s four land-based casinos and six racetrack venues collectively reporting $178.1 million in GGR.

So why all the March record wins?

For starters, casinos of course take more bets on weekend days than weekdays, and March 2018 afforded the gaming floors an extra Saturday compared to 2017. Last month was also unseasonably warm in many parts of the country, but also rainy, meaning outdoor activities were limited.