Midwest Casino Revenues Dip in April amid Waning Interest in Slots

Posted on: May 12, 2017, 03:44h. 

Last updated on: May 12, 2017, 03:46h.

Monthly revenue reports are in, and casinos in both Detroit and Northwest Indiana saw declines for April compared to the same month last year. Officials say they are hoping this is just a blip not a trend.

Greektown casino in Detroit
The Greektown casino in Detroit is credited with helping bring the city back to life, and until April the their revenue numbers were confirming as much. (Image: Orbitz)

In April, regional casino customers gambled $668.5 million, down from $698.5 a year ago. Table game play was up slightly, from $83.1 million to $83.5 million.

“It’s really two divergent stories,” Horseshoe Casino Senior Vice President and General Manager Dan Nita told NCI.com. “Table games continue to be quite stable — and growing ever so slightly. Unfortunately, that can’t offset the decline in the slot business.”

Northwest Indiana casinos in these tallies include Ameristar in East Chicago, the Horseshoe in Hammond, Michigan City’s Blue Chip, and the Majestic Star in Gary. While all saw year-over-year revenue growth in March, they couldn’t keep the streak going for April.

The three Detroit-area casinos that saw similar but not so drastic results are the MGM Grand Detroit, the MotorCity Casino Hotel, and Greektown.

Numbers Game

Among the casino options in the area, Ameristar was the biggest loser, showing a double-digit decline. Their monthly revenues fell 14.2 percent to $18.2 million.

Ameristar Vice President and General Manager Matt Schuffert pinned the loss on Easter weekend, notoriously slow for casinos, which fell in April this year but in March for 2016.

The other Indiana destinations all slipped less than 5 percent. Hammond’s Horseshoe was down 4.1 percent to $35.1 million, Michigan City’s Blue Chip was off 3.8 percent to $13.5 million, and Gary’s Majestic Star boats tumbled 3.2 percent to $14 million.

Motor City Motoring

Detroit is currently experiencing one of the more robust economic rebounds of any metropolitan city in the US. So not surprising that their casinos fared a bit better than others in the region.

The trio of Detroit casinos reported combined revenue of $121 million, down 1.1 percent from the same period in 2016, according the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

MGM Grand Detroit had the most notable gaming revenue decrease, at 1.7 percent to $49.6 million. Greektown followed, showing a small drop of 0.9 percent to $29.3 million, and MotorCity Casino was off just 0.5 percent, with revenues of $42.1 million.

Like the Indiana casinos, Detroit’s gaming destinations were seeing optimistic growth in previous months. They reported a collective revenue increase of 5 percent year-over-year for March.

Though none of these shifts are significant enough by themselves to call for anything drastic, several casino managers will eagerly await May and June numbers to determine if indeed anything has gone off track.