Detroit casino revenue dropped 13.7 percent — roughly $17.5 million — in February, compared to a year ago. It was the worst monthly decline since the opening of Ohio's casinos and raises the question as to how much business those new casinos are taking from Detroit's gaming facilities.
Jake Miklojcik of Lansing-based Michigan Consultants said he couldn't explain much more than half the losses. "I can explain 8 percent, maybe even 9. I can't explain 13 percent."
Miklojcik said as much as a 5 percent decline could be attributed to Ohio casinos and another 3 percent because February 2012 had Leap Day. Another small factor could be the recent expiration of the payroll tax holiday, which has cut Americans' pay by 2 percent this year.
Frank Fantini, editor and publisher of Fantini's Gaming & Lodging Reports, said incumbent casinos across the nation suffered in February, which was colder than last February. Established casinos in Pennsylvania, which also facecompetitive pressure from Ohio, were down nearly 11.5 percent.
"It's been a rough month everywhere in regional markets across the country," Fantini said in a telephone interview.
Individually in Detroit:
Greektown Casino revenue plummeted 18.4 percent to $26.6 million;
MGM Grand Detroit revenue dropped 13.1 percent to $46.5 million; MotorCity Casino revenue declined 10.8 percent to $38.3 million.
Gaming taxes paid by the Detroit casinos in February totaled $9 million, down from $10.4 million last February.
February had eight weekend days — Fridays and Saturdays — the same number as in February 2012.
The casinos have been affected by the opening of new smoke-free operations in Ohio — most notably the Hollywood Casino Toledo, which opened in May 2012 — that has attracted some southeast Michigan gamers. And the Toledo casino offered a closer gambling option for northwest Ohio residents who have been gambling in Detroit.
In addition, Hollywood Casino Columbus opened late last year in central Ohio. A Cleveland casino that Quicken Loans Inc. chairman Dan Gilbert partially owns with Caesars Entertainment opened in May, and another gambling operation opened this month in Cincinnati.
Those four casinos had combined revenue of $55.5 million in February, according to the Ohio Casino Control Commission.
In 2012, the Ohio casinos had a minimal effect on Detroit casinos, which saw their collective revenue decline 0.5 percent. It was the second collective revenue loss in their history.