Detroit Casino Revenue on Pace for Record Despite August Dip

Detroit Casino Revenue on Pace for Record Despite August Dip
By Jake Perper

Detroit’s casinos have seen a slight increase in total revenue in 2019 compared to last year at this time despite a dip in August’s year-to-year numbers.

Between the Greektown Casino-Hotel, MGM Grand Detroit and MotorCity Casino Hotel, the three hotels took in an aggregate revenue of $119.84 million in August 2019, according to the Michigan Gaming Control Board’s official website. That is down 0.5 percent from August 2018.

The biggest month of 2019 came in March when the three casinos combined to earn $140.36 million in aggregate revenue. In April and May, Detroit casinos pulled in more than $120 million.

For the year, Detroit has taken in nearly $974.3 million in aggregate revenue through August. The city has seen a 0.7 percent revenue increase in total revenue compared to the same time period last year.

Detroit Casino Revenue Projection in 2019

All in all, this year has been a success already for the city of Detroit. The Michigan Gaming Control Board has records dating back to 1999 when both the Motorcity Casino Hotel and Greektown Casino-Hotel launched.

In 2011 Detroit casinos drew $1.42 billion in revenue, which stood as the record for seven years. Last year, the figure finally surpassed 2011 at $1.44 billion, setting a new record.

Now in 2019, Detroit casinos are on a record revenue pace again with projected aggregate revenue of $1.46 billion.

In August, Detroit’s total city wagering tax hit $18.5 million, its highest mark this year. The previous high was in March at $16.7 million with other months between $13 million and $14 million.

Revenue from Detroit casinos, earmarked for Michigan’s public schools, has topped $2 billion over the past 20 years.

Sports betting coming to Michigan?

Republican State Representative Brandt Iden has been instrumental to the push for legalized sports gambling.

With state officials back from summer recess, Iden put forward bills during the most recent session. Those bills would ultimately legalize sports gambling on fantasy sports and online betting options for Michigan’s 23 tribal casinos and Detroit’s trio of casinos in place.

The Detroit Free Press reported that the bills had widespread support in the Legislature but stumbled after that. Former Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed the bills, citing his opposition to expanded gaming options.

In January, Democrat Gretchen Whitmer took over as a governor of Michigan.

“My goal is to have this up and running by the Super Bowl. Casinos are moving forward because they know it’s going to come to fruition at some point,” Iden told the Free Press. “If we don’t do this, we will continue to lose consumers to other states, just like you lost me to Indiana last weekend.”

As for what the bill has in play, it demands an 8 percent tax on sports gambling. That would produce about $8.7 million to $11.2 million in total tax revenue dollars.

Michigan is progressing slowly on passing a bill. The example of the revenue generated by Detroit’s casinos should be a positive one in the debate over having legal sports betting in Michigan.

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Jake Perper covers casino news for A veteran of more than a decade of sports writing, he has covered the Chicago Bears for the Bears Backer blog, and his stories have also appeared on, The Tampa Tribune, The Naples Daily News and Bleacher Report. He is also the leas scout for Prep Hoops Florida, based in Tampa.

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