Detroit Casinos Win $69M in First Month Back, Revenue Down 42 Percent

Posted on: September 15, 2020, 07:56h. 

Last updated on: September 15, 2020, 08:51h.

The three Detroit casinos collectively won $69.3 million in August, their first month back in operation following their state-ordered shutdowns that lasted four and a half months.

Detroit casinos MGM gaming revenue
Detroit casinos are back in business, and business has been better than expected. (Image: MGM Grand Detroit)

MotorCity and Greektown reopened August 5 — the first day permitted by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D). MGM Grand Detroit began welcoming back guests two days later on August 7.

The venues are limited to 15 percent occupancy, all employees and patrons are required to undergo temperature checks before entry, and they must wear face coverings while on the casino property, both indoors and out.

Smoking inside is prohibited, table games are limited to three players each for blackjack, four players for roulette and midi baccarat, and six players for craps.

Gross gaming revenue (GGR) was down 42 percent year-over-year. But city officials were pleased with the roughly 25-day performance.

We are cautiously optimistic,” said David Massaron, the city’s chief financial officer, to The Detroit News. “We are trending ahead of where we are in terms of the monthly forecast. But we don’t know what that portends for the year as a whole.”

“We don’t know if that is pent-up demand, or if it is the beginning of the upward ramp-up,” he added.

Though being open two less days, MGM still won the most money in August — $28.63 million. MotorCity was second at $25 million, and Greektown a distant third at $15.68 million.

Financial Damage

Detroit’s three commercial casinos play a critical role in the Motor City’s finances. The state collects 8.1 percent of each gaming property’s casino win, while the city receives 10.9 percent.

Detroit uses the casino money for hiring and training of police officers, downtown economic development, emergency medical services, anti-gang community initiatives, and other programs aimed at improving the quality of city life.

The city’s share of the August casino win was $8.25 million. That’s down more than half compared with the $18.46 million the city received in August of 2019. However, Massaron was forecasting a roughly $3 million casino payment from last month’s gambling.

Massaron expects the city to receive approximately $135 million from casinos in the 2020-21 fiscal year. That’s 25 percent less than the $184 million the city collected in 2019-20.

Poker Comeback

Cooler temperatures are setting in, and that means many Detroiters are moving inside and looking for some indoor entertainment.

Detroit casinos actually fare quite well in the winter months. December 2019 GGR totaled $127.83 million, which was the market’s second-best month of the year. November was the city’s fifth-strongest showing.

MotorCity and Greektown are planning to welcome back poker players by opening their rooms as early as this week.

Detroit’s best Poker Rooms reopens NEXT WEEK!” an email sent this week from MotorCity explained. Greektown said it will have its poker room “back up in a few weeks.”

The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) has not issued health safety directives for casinos reopening their poker rooms. The MGCB will need to sign off on such plans before a casino can resume poker play.