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Detroit casino revenue down 56.1% in 2020


The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) has reported a 56.1% year-on-year drop in revenue from Detroit’s three commercial casinos in 2020, after operations were disrupted by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Revenue for the 12 months to December 31, 2020 amounted to $639.0m, down from $1.45bn in the previous year.

Table games and slots generated $620.4m in revenue during 2020, representing 97% of all revenue in Detroit last year. Retail sports betting, which launched in March, accounted for just 3% of revenue,  bringing in $18.3m, on stakes $130.8m.

The state’s regulated betting market opened on March 11, but was forced to close days later after the casinos shut in line with Covid-19 rules.

The MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino and Greektown Casino were forced to shut between March 16 and August 4, and again from November 18 to December 22, in line with state regulations related to Covid-19.

Since the reopening in the summer, all three casinos have only been permitted to operate at limited capacity under an epidemic order issued by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Looking at each casino’s slots and table games performance, MGM saw revenue fall 58.8% year-on-year to $257.1m, while MotorCity’s revenue was also down 54.9% to $222.7m and Greektown’s 58.3% to $140.6m.

The casinos paid $50.3m in wagering taxes to the State of Michigan compared with $117.8m paid in 2019, as well as $78.3m in wagering taxes and development agreement payments to the City of Detroit.

MGM Grand’s BetMGM sportsbook led the wagering market in 2020 with $8.2m in adjusted gross receipts, minus the monetary value of free-play incentives provided to players.

MotorCity, partnered with FanDuel, ranked second on $6.0m in adjusted gross receipts. Penn National’s Greektown with $4.1m for the year. Its sportsbook now operates under the Barstool brand.

The three casinos paid $690,865 in taxes for retail sports betting to the State of Michigan in 2020 and also submitted $844,391 in retail sports betting taxes to the City of Detroit.

The properties generated revenue of $23.9m in December, across nine days of operation, and with capacity significantly limited.

Table games and slots revenue in December reached $22.1m, while sports betting’s contribution amounted to $1.9m.

MotorCity led the table games and slots in December with $9.1m in revenue, ahead of MGM Grand on $7.6m and Greektown with $5.4m.

For sports betting, MGM Grand posted $776,788 in adjusted gross receipts, with MotorCity generating $646,003 for the month and Greektown $460,449.

Publication of the full-year results comes after the MGCB last month approved provisional licenses for 15 platform providers to support commercial and tribal casinos in the state with online gambling and sports betting.

Successful applicants included the American Wagering division of William Hill, GAN, Golden Nugget, Scientific Games’ NYX Digital Gaming arm, Parx Interactive and Flutter’s FanDuel.

Penn National Gaming also secured a license for its Penn Sports Interactive arm, while PointsBet, Rush Street Interactive, Sports Information Services (SIS) and DraftKings Crown Gaming brand were given approval.

Other successful applicants included Churchill Downs’ TwinSpires division, The Stars Group’s Fox Bet brand, Wynn Sports and BetMGM, the brand operated by the Roar Digital joint venture between Entain and MGM Resorts International.

At a meeting of the MGCB yesterday (12 January), executive director Richard Kalm said online offerings were likely to launch by 19 January. Operators will be permitted to conduct a test launch, during which they can accept bets, before their official roll-out.