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Detroit Casinos See Revenue Bump, But Problems Persist

Jul 13, 2014 2:00 pm

Skift Take

The increase in Detroit-area casinos’ revenue in June won’t be a panacea for the local gaming industry or the beleaguered city.

— Dennis Schaal

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Inhabitat Blog  / flickr.com

Revenue from Detroit's Big 3 casinos, including the Motor City Casino Hotel, rose 5% in June 2013. Inhabitat Blog / flickr.com


Gambling revenues at Detroit’s casinos stopped sliding in June and showed their first year-over-year improvement in 2014.

The three casinos – MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino Hotel and Greektown Casino-Hotel — brought in $109 million in gambling dollars for the month, up 5% from the same period last year, according to figures from the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

But no one is yet declaring the return of boom times.

The big monthly gain was mostly the result of MGM Grand rebounding 19% from its abnormally slow June 2013. It does the most business of the three. Gambling revenues at the other two casinos were down slightly from June 2013.

MGM did not return a call asking about June last year, and it wasn’t immediately clear what factors would have caused it to dip.

Casino revenues in Detroit have been falling every month this year in comparison with 2013 levels.

Industry experts cite a variety of factors including extreme winter weather, tighter household budgets and competition from casinos that have popped up in Ohio and on tribal lands.

The gambling revenue figures reported by state regulators do not represent bottom-line financials for the Detroit Three. The casinos are not required to disclose their non-gaming revenues from hotel rooms, banquets, food sales and other sources.

The amount of money captured through slot machines and other games affects the finances of state school districts and the City of Detroit’s government.

The state school aid fund takes 8.1% of the gambling proceeds and the city generally gets an additional 12%, on top of various smaller revenue streams from the casinos to local sources.

Gambling revenues in Detroit have been trending downward in recent years, dropping 4.7% to $1.35 billion last year compared with 2012.

Regulators for Caesars Windsor have yet to report on the casino’s gambling revenues for 2014.

Contact JC Reindl: 313-222-6631 or jcreindl@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @JCReindl. ___

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