Detroit’s three commercial casinos set an all-time gaming revenue record in March, as two properties set new individual records.
Figures released Thursday by the Michigan Gaming Control Board show total casino gaming revenue of $138.6m in March, 5.7% higher than the same month last year. The figure is the highest ever recorded since the first casinos opened in 1999, surpassing the previous record of $135.3m in March 2012.
MGM Grand Detroit set a new personal best with $58.1m, up 7.3% year-on-year and beating its previous monthly best of $57.2m in March 2012. Ditto for MotorCity Casino, which earned $49.3m, beating its March 2013 record of $45.8m. Jack Entertainment’s Greektown Casino contributed $31.2m to March’s total, but fell short of its own record of $34.7m in March 2013.
Despite the records, the market’s total revenue over the first quarter of 2018 was essentially flat year-on-year at $360.2m. The blame goes to Greektown, whose Q1 total of $82.9m was down 4.7% year-on-year, while MGM and MotorCity posted gains of 1.6% and 1.2%, respectively.
The March momentum could carry over into April’s results thanks to labor strife at the Caesars Windsor casino in the Canadian province of Ontario, just across the watery border of the Detroit River. The property shut down on April 6 and negotiations between the casino and its 2,300 striking workers aren’t scheduled to resume until April 18.
Caesars Windsor workers last went on strike in 2004 and the three Detroit casinos did see an uptick in business during the 42-day labor stoppage. However, since that strike, other casinos have been built in adjacent Canadian cities, meaning Detroit’s uptick is likely to be smaller this time around.
Detroit’s casinos generated total revenue of $1.4b in 2017, up 1.1% over 2016’s figure. Michigan also has 23 tribal casinos scattered across the rest of the state.