Detroit Casinos Win $109M in April from Land-Based Operations


Posted on: May 12, 2021, 10:39h. 

Last updated on: May 12, 2021, 10:39h.

The three Detroit casinos collectively reported gross gaming revenue (GGR) of nearly $109 million in April. The number will further balloon once iGaming and mobile sports betting numbers are released later this month.

Detroit casino Michigan sports betting iGaming
Retired auto worker Charlie Cook plays a slot machine at the Greektown Casino in 2014. The Michigan casinos in Detroit are faring well in the early stages of their COVID-19 recoveries. (Image: The Wall Street Journal)

MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity, and Greektown won $108.9 million from gamblers playing slot machines, table games, and betting on sports in person. 

MGM led the market with a 40 percent market share, the casino generating GGR of approximately $42.8 million. MotorCity claimed a 37 percent market share, and Greektown 23 percent. 

Slot machines and table games generated GGR of $107.44 million. The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) does not separate the two numbers. Retail sports betting delivered revenue of $1.54 million, and fantasy contests just shy of $900,000.  

The three land-based casinos continue to operate under reduced capacities on Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) orders. Each casino floor remains limited to 15 percent of its fire code capacity, but there have been no reports of guests looking to gamble being turned away. 

Evolving Industry

Michigan’s land-based casinos performed far below their pre-pandemic business in April. The $108.9 million won last month is 13 percent lower than the $125.1 million the three gaming floors received in April of 2019.

However, once iGaming and mobile sports betting GGR is unveiled by the MGCB in the coming days, the overall revenue number will almost certainly exceed April 2019’s total. 

In March, online oddsmakers kept $32.3 million of the $359.4 million in sports bets wagered. Internet casinos reported GGR of $53.5 million.

Michigan’s evolving gaming industry mimics the national casino market. The American Gaming Association (AGA) reported this week that commercial gaming revenue derived from brick-and-mortar casinos, sports betting both in-person and online, and iGaming totaled more than $11.1 billion in the first quarter. That matches the highest quarterly performance in US history, the AGA reported. 

But without mobile sports betting and iGaming, which was responsible for over $1.7 billion during the three-month span, total GGR would have been considerably lower than that all-time record high set in the first quarter of 2019. 

Commercial Dominating Online

When Michigan expanded its gaming industry to embrace sports betting and online casinos, the state included its federally recognized tribes that have Class III gaming compacts in place. 

But early on into iGaming and mobile sports betting, the Detroit commercial casinos are ruling in terms of market share. 

Of the $204.1 million in internet casino GGR generated January through March, MGM, MotorCity, and Greektown’s online platforms were responsible for $120 million. As for mobile sports betting’s $55 million win, the three commercial Detroit casinos accounted for $37.4 million.

MGM Grand uses MGM Resorts’ interactive gaming and sportsbook provider BetMGM. MotorCity is partnered with FanDuel, and Greektown uses the Barstool Casino and sportsbook app. Greentown is operated by Penn National Gaming, which has a substantial stake in Barstool Sports.