Detroit's casinos report record-breaking earnings for 2018
Detroit’s three casinos have reported a record-breaking $1.44 billion in combined revenue in 2018. That’s up $20 million from the previous record of $1.42 billion in 2011, according to the Michigan Gaming Control Board.
MGM Grand Detroit had the highest market share among the trio, reporting $619.2 million in annual revenue. That figure surpasses a previous record of $604.9 million in 2012. MGM's annual revenue is up 4.6 percent from 2017.
Also experiencing historic earnings was MotorCity Casino, reporting annual revenue of $489.7 million. The casino’s previous revenue record was $480.2 million in 2007. MotorCity’s revenue increased 2.3 percent from 2017.
Greektown Casino reported $335.2 million in revenue in 2018, lower than its record $352.8 million in 2011. However, Greektown’s revenue was up 1.7 percent from 2017.
The historic revenue came at a time when consumers experienced higher discretionary income in 2018 due to tax reform stimulus and low gas prices, said Alex Calderone, a Birmingham-based casino gaming expert.
"This is a business that is entirely dependent on the health of the consumer..." he said. "Gas prices were cheap, the local and national economy were relatively healthy. We had a stock market that was performing well. There was kind of a perfect storm of factors to favorably influence the casino business."
Bruce Dall, president of the MotorCity Casino, said he agreed with the assessment of Calderone in a provided statement. Officials with the other two casinos didn't immediately respond for comment.
The three casinos reported an overall 3.1 percent increase from 2017. Slots earned the casinos $1.17 billion, 81 percent of the revenue, while table games brought in $272 million, 19 percent of the revenue.
The three casinos reported making $117 million in gaming tax payments to the state of Michigan in 2018, up from $113.4 million in 2017. They also reported making $182.9 million in wagering taxes and development agreement payments to the city of Detroit in 2018.
The wagering tax has been growing 1 to 2 percent each fiscal year, said John Naglick, Detroit's chief deputy chief financial officer and finance director.
"While this is an important revenue source for the city, the increases are in the range already anticipated for our four-year financial plan," Naglick said.