Detroit Casinos Win $93.8M in October, Sports Betting Sets Record Handle

Posted on: November 11, 2020, 09:52h. 

Last updated on: November 11, 2020, 10:06h.

Detroit casinos kept just shy of $93.8 million of the money wagered last month on their slot machines and table games, a 19 percent decline compared with October 2019.

Detroit casinos Michigan sports betting
Detroit casinos won 19 percent fewer dollars on their table games and slot machines in October 2020 than they did in 2019. (Image: MGM Grand Detroit)

MGM Grand Detroit commanded the largest market share, the MGM Resorts casino reporting gross gaming revenue (GGR) of $37.8 million. MotorCity was next at $36.3 million, and Greektown a distant third at $19.7 million.

The three commercial casinos continue to operate at a 15 percent maximum occupancy level. They were ordered to close on Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) orders on March 16, and were only allowed to reopen on August 5.

The City of Detroit collects 19 percent of the three casinos’ net win, which in October totaled $11.2 million. The state receives 8.1 percent of the GGR, $7.6 million.

Along with the 15 percent capacity maximum, Detroit casinos must require all employees and guests to wear masks inside, smoking is prohibited, slot machines have been rearranged to promote social distancing, and table game seating is reduced and plexiglass barriers separate players.

Sports Betting Benefit

Detroit’s three casinos each have a sportsbook in operation, and last month bets rolled in at a record pace.

Total handle, or money wagered, was more than $46.1 million. That’s by far the best month on record, though sports betting only went live in March. Since mobile sportsbooks have not yet commenced operations, there was no handle in April, May, June, and July, as the Detroit casinos were closed.

MGM Grand Detroit’s sportsbook facilitated $20.9 million in bets last month, and won $3.7 million. MotorCity accepted $15.3 million in wagers and kept $2.2 million. Greektown bettors wagered $9.9 million and lost $1.7 million.

Detroit receives 4.62 percent of net sports betting win, which was $350,980. The state takes a 3.78 percent cut — $287,165.

Mobile Delayed

Whitmer signed the Lawful Internet Gaming Act in December of 2019. The legislation allows the three Detroit casinos to operate online slots and interactive table games, and permits sports betting to be conducted through the internet.

Legislative delays caused by COVID-19 have slowed the process for gambling to begin online. The Michigan Gaming Control Board submitted sports betting regulatory conditions to the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules on October 6 . But with time ticking on the Michigan Legislature’s 2020 session calendar, iGaming might not launch until 2021.

It’s expected that sports betting licenses will cost $100,000, with an annual renewal set at $50,000. Tax rates are pending.

Internet sportsbook platforms must partner with either a Detroit casino or tribal gaming venue. BetMGM, FanDuel, Barstool Sports, and DraftKings have already done so.

BetMGM is partnered with MGM Grand Detroit, FanDuel with MotorCity, and Barstool Sports with Greektown. DraftKings is partnered with the Bay Mills Resort and Casino, a tribal casino located on the Upper Peninsula.

Internet sportsbook licenses cannot be issued until the regulatory rules are approved by the legislature.

Mobile is key to a successful sports betting market. For instance, in New Jersey, of the more than $3.28 billion that has been wagered in 2020, nearly 91 percent — or $2.98 billion — has been bet online.