Michigan casino revenue is down nearly 40% in a year-by-year comparison, a result of all three commercial casinos in Detroit being shut down during the coronavirus pandemic.
Detroit’s casinos — Greektown, MotorCity and MGM Grand — have been closed since the middle of March to comply with government orders designed to halt the spread of coronavirus, or COVID-19. The same measures saw every commercial casino in the U.S. shut down at around the same time.
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After four months this year, Michigan’s casinos have brought in about $300 million in total adjusted gross receipts. In 2019, that figure was more than $492 million through April, a 39% reduction.
The casinos in Detroit will remain closed until at least May 28, according to a release on the Michigan Gaming Control Board website.
January and February saw Michigan casinos get off to a fine start in 2020.
The three casinos combined for more than $120 million in total adjusted gross receipts in each of the first two months of the year. That was well ahead of last year’s pace. January’s $120,018,670 was a state record for the first month of the year and the $121,761,104 in February was the second-best February on record since casino gaming began in Detroit in 1999.
But gross receipts fell to $57,445,827 in March as the casino closures took hold in the middle of the month. That figure was less than half of a normal March, which is typically the best month of the year for Detroit’s three commercial casinos. The total city wagering tax, which surpassed $14 million in each of the first two months of 2020, was $6,836,053 in March.
The city’s mayor, Mike Duggan, recently said that Detroit’s casinos won’t reopen completely until there is a vaccine for COVID-19. He did not want to speculate on a timeline, according to a Detroit News story.
“I would be surprised if a vaccine develops within a year,” Duggan told the paper. “So we're going to have to deal with it. Do the casinos end up reopening with 25% or 30% capacity? I don’t know.”
Over the past two decades, Detroit’s casinos have contributed more than $2.2 billion in taxes, earmarked toward Michigan’s public schools.
In addition to the three Detroit casinos, there are 24 tribal casinos in the state. Combined, Michigan’s casinos account for a $6.28 billion annual economic impact, according to American Gaming Association research.
Michigan has legalized online casino gaming but has not implemented it yet. Online casino gaming in the state should launch later this year; when it does, Michigan will join Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania in offering it. Michigan also legalized online poker, which is also expected to launch this year. Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Nevada currently offer online poker; West Virginia joins Michigan in planning a launch some time in 2020.
Michigan also implemented sports betting in March but it was up and running for just a few days before coronavirus concerns shut down all major sports leagues.