Michigan Casinos November Revenues Way Down as Strike Impacts Hit

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November 2023 was a challenging month for the three Michigan casinos in the city of Detroit (pictured).

A significant workers strike that only fully finished on December 4 saw the venues’ combined revenues fall significantly.

MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Detroit, and Hollywood Greektown saw some 3,700 collective workers on strike for at least half of the month. The latter two casinos reached deals with the Detroit Casino Council, representing various local unions, on November 20.

However, workers at MGM Grand Detroit, operated by the largest U.S. casino giant, MGM Resorts International, held out for an ever better contract offer from the casino. Their strike lasted until December 4.

Overall, the city’s casinos reported a combined monthly aggregate revenue (AGR) of $79.1 million, according to the latest data released from the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

That’s a substantial 28.2% decrease from the pre-strike monthly average of $105.9 million in 2023.

November’s revenue — comprising table games, slots, and $3.1 million from retail sports betting — marked the lowest full-month total since February 2001, and nearly the lowest in the history of Detroit casinos, which began operations in December 2000.

Comparison with Previous Months and Years

The November revenue was also $5.7 million lower than October’s total of $81.7 million.

Year-on-year, it represented a 23.9% drop from November 2022’s gambling revenue of $99.9 million.

Despite having the longest period of strike disruption by an extra two weeks, MGM Grand Detroit maintained its position as the leading casino, holding 39% of the market share even as its revenue decreased to $30.6 million.

That monthly take was 38.2% below the 2023 average before the strike.

MotorCity Casino reported revenue of $24.7 million, while Hollywood Casino at Greektown actually increased its revenue from $19.4 million in October to $20.7 million.

The Detroit casinos paid $6.2 million in gaming taxes to Michigan in November, a decrease from $8.1 million in the same month last year.

Sports Betting Revenues Up

The Michigan retail sportsbooks took a total handle of $15.3 million, of which operators held on to $3.1 million. That’s a 15% drop year-on-year in total wagers. However, revenues were the highest since November 2021.

Detroit’s favorite retail sportsbook for the month was the FanDuel ‘book at MotorCity. It handled $2.2 million in bets compared to $230,847 at MGM Detroit and $657,535 at Hollywood Greektown.

These sports betting operations paid $116,769 in gaming taxes to the state and submitted $142,718 in wagering taxes to Detroit.

Daily Fantasy Sports operations in the state made $2.7 million in revenues and paid $229,544 in taxes.

Impact Assessment

Overall, the strike’s impact was significant, with a combined revenue loss of approximately $51.1 million during the strike period, constituting 4.6% of the current $1.12 billion in combined gaming revenue for 2023.

This potentially means the casinos will not pass 2022’s revenue total of $1.28 billion.

With the strikes now over and the data in, it is revealed just how damaging the potentially much larger strikes that did not happen at Nevada casinos could have been.

Some 60,000 workers at MGM Resorts International, Wynn Resorts, and Caesars Entertainment were ready to walk out, with those operators comprising the majority of major Las Vegas Strip resorts.

However, last-minute deals were reached to avoid that disruption, including the biggest package of wage rises in Las Vegas history.

Casinos and retail sportsbooks in Nevada went on to make a record $1.315 billion in revenues in October. That’s not to mention the forthcoming results from November, when the Las Vegas Grand Prix rolled into town for a sports betting bonanza.

Let’s say Las Vegas had seen workers go on strike. And let’s say casinos would have lost (being conservative here) the same percentage of 2023’s revenues as Detroit’s operators did.

That would have meant strike-related losses of $735 million, compared to the $50 million in Detroit. A number that is, funnily enough, about $1 million off of 2023’s total revenue (so far) from all Nevada retail sports betting.

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