Detroit casinos report $90.8 million in revenue in January, first full month since reopening

Jordyn Grzelewski
The Detroit News

Detroit's three casinos reported $90.84 million in monthly aggregate revenue in January, the first full month the venues were open since shuttering in November under state orders tied to the coronavirus pandemic.

Table games and slots at MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino and Greektown Casino — which are still operating under strict capacity limits and other health and safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19 — collectively generated $86.78 million in revenue last month, according to a report released Wednesday by the Michigan Gaming Control Board. Retail sports betting generated a total of $4.06 million in revenue.

The report does not include revenue from online gaming and internet sports betting, which launched in Michigan in January. Operators were required to submit their revenue reports to the state by Wednesday; MGCB expects to release those numbers next week.

Revenue from table games and slots fell 27.7% compared to the same month in 2020, but monthly revenue rose 293.5% compared to December, when casinos were closed for almost the entire month. The Detroit casinos, which closed Nov. 18, were allowed to reopen Dec. 23 with a limit of 20 people per 1,000 square feet. 

The casinos — which previously were closed for much of the spring and summer in 2020 because of the pandemic — represent an important source of revenue for the city. The reopening, as well as new revenue streams tied to online gambling, could provide lifelines for the casinos and city alike. 

For 2020 overall, total adjusted revenue from the Detroit casinos was down more than 57% from 2019, to about $620.4 million, according to MGCB. In 2019, revenues totaled nearly $1.5 billion.

Wagering taxes paid to the city were down nearly 60%, from more than $184 million in 2019 to just over $73.8 million in 2020.

In January, gaming revenue at MGM dropped 32%, to $34 million, year-over-year. MotorCity's revenue fell 20.7% to $33.2 million. And Greektown's revenue declined 30.4%, to $19.6 million.

In all, the three casinos paid $7 million in gaming taxes to the state last month, down from $9.7 million in January 2020. They submitted $10.3 million in wagering taxes and development agreement payments to the city

On the retail sports betting side (which casinos were permitted to launch early last year), the Detroit casinos reported a total handle of nearly $35.7 million. The three casinos paid $153,586 in taxes to the state on retails sports betting revenue in January. They paid $187,716 to the city.

In January, MGM and MotorCity each had 38% market share while Greektown had 24%.

MGCB authorized the launch of online gaming and sports betting for certain operators and platform providers in late January. Michigan's law legalizing online gambling, signed at the end of 2019, allows only the state's licensed casinos to offer the two forms of gambling; platform providers have paired up with the Detroit casinos as well as several of the state's tribal casinos.

Though the final numbers for January are still being tallied, industry observers, operators and platform providers have hinted at blockbuster results, driven by eager fans placing wagers on high-profile sporting events. Industry analysts have said that Michigan is likely to grow to one of the country's largest markets for legal online gambling.

Twitter: @JGrzelewski