Detroit casinos report nearly $114 million in March revenue

Jordyn Grzelewski
The Detroit News

Detroit's three casinos reported nearly $114 million in revenue in March, a significant increase over the same time last year when the venues were forced to close mid-month due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

The casinos — MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino Hotel and Greektown Casino — reported $113.8 million in monthly aggregate revenue last month, even as they remain subject to capacity limits and other health protocols aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19. 

Table games and slots generated $110.87 million in revenue, according to numbers released Tuesday by the Michigan Gaming Control Board. Retail sports betting, meanwhile, generated $2.97 million in revenue for the month. Revenue tied to online gambling and sports betting, which began in Michigan in January, is reported separately and will be released later this month.

Revenue from table games and slots at the three casinos rose 93% year-over-year. MGM Grand reported more than $43.2 million in monthly revenue, for an 80.6% increase from last March. MotorCity's revenue was up 107.2%, to more than $42 million. And Greektown's revenue was up 93.7% to $25.6 million.

Revenue rose 28.2% from February, which was the second full month casinos were reopened following an extended, state-ordered closure that began in November. The casinos were closed for much of 2020 due to the pandemic. 

The gaming industry is likely to make up some of its 2020 losses this year as the pandemic eases thanks to ramped-up distribution of vaccines, and as states roll back business restrictions. Though Michigan has led the nation in new infections per population over the last seven days and reported a higher number of adults hospitalized with COVID-19 than during the previous peak in the fall, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signaled reluctance to implement new shutdown measures.

The release of March revenue numbers comes days after a New York hedge fund announced that it planned to sell half of its ownership of Atlantic City's Ocean Casino to the Ilitch family. The deal would mark a significant expansion of the Ilitches' gaming interests; the family also owns MotorCity Casino in addition to its other entertainment, food and sports holdings.

Meanwhile, the Detroit casinos paid $9 million in gaming taxes to the state in March, up from $4.7 million in March 2020. They paid $13.2 million in wagering taxes and development agreement payments to the city, according to the state gaming control board.

Meanwhile, qualified adjusted gross receipts from retail sports betting totaled nearly $3 million. MGM reported $868,206 in revenue, MotorCity reported nearly $1.3 million and Greektown reported $825,479.

Their total handle — the total amount of money bet — for the month was more than $24.2 million.

The casinos paid $112,272 in state taxes on that revenue and $137,221 in taxes to the city.

Fantasy contest operators reported $1 million in total adjusted revenues and paid $87,004 in taxes.

For the first quarter of the year, the Detroit casinos' aggregate revenue was down 5.1% year-over-year while retail sports betting generated just under $7 million in qualified adjusted gross receipts.

MGM Grand led the pack in March with a 39% share of the market. MotorCity followed with 38%, while Greektown came in at 23%.

Twitter: @JGrzelewski