Detroit casinos set new revenue record for second straight year


detroit-casinos-2019-gaming-revenueDetroit’s three commercial casinos set a new gaming revenue record in 2019 while the state continues to prepare for the imminent launch of legal sports betting.

Figures released Tuesday by the Michigan Gaming Control Board show Detroit’s three casinos generated combined gaming revenue of $1.454b in 2019, beating the previous record of $1.44b set just one year earlier. The three casinos closed out the year by posting revenue of $127.8m in December, up a mere 0.3% from the same month last year.

MGM Resorts’ MGM Grand Detroit enjoyed a property revenue record in 2019 with $623.5m, up 0.7% from 2018, its previous high-water mark. The privately held MotorCity Casino enjoyed its own record-setting performance last year with revenue of $493.6m, up 0.8% from 2018.

Greektown, which is owned by a combination of Penn National Gaming and VICI Properties, saw its 2019 haul rise 0.6% year-on-year to $337.2m, although this failed to eclipse Greektown’s previous best of $352.8m set way back in 2011.

Detroit’s casinos and the state’s tribal gaming venues have been busy prepping for their new online gambling and sports betting options, which became a possibility five days before Christmas when Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the necessary legislation into law.

This month has already seen a flurry of gaming technology partnership signings and last week saw Scientific Games Corp ink a sports betting and online casino pact with the FireKeepers Casino Hotel in Battle Creek. (The parties aren’t strangers, having struck a free-play social gaming partnership five years ago.) Sci-Games is currently focused on ensuring a swift retail betting launch before embarking on the more technically demanding online options.

Michigan’s bettors are keen for a retail betting launch in time for this spring’s NCAA March Madness basketball tournament but it remains to be seen whether that timeline proves realistic. Regardless, crafting unique rules for online/mobile betting and online casino and poker means those products might not make their official debut until early 2021.