Detroit Casinos Surge in March, MGM Leads with $57M Revenue Boost


After commencing the year with consecutive monthly losses, Detroit saw its casinos rebound with vim and vigor in the month of March. MGM Grand Detroit emerged as the bellwether, leading the city’s triad of casinos – MotorCity and Hollywood Greektown included – in gross gaming revenue (GGR) for the month. The trio raked in an impressive sum of about $123.9 million, returning color to the cheeks of the city’s casino industry.

Tuesday added a splash of surprise for the stakeholders when the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) disclosed that the combined winnings of Detroit’s commercial casinos amounted to a hefty $123.86 million in March. This marked the best performance the city’s casinos had seen in the month of March since the laudatory year of 2019 when their revenues amassed to a whopping $140.3 million.

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A lion’s share of the credit goes to MGM Grand Detroit, where the GGR clocked in at roughly $57 million. This significant contribution came from the troika of slot machines, table games, and sports betting, clearly indicating their popularity among the visiting populace. The earnings for March recorded a 4.1% improvement when compared to the same month in the previous year proving it to be MGM’s most prosperous month this year.

Not to be overshadowed, MotorCity followed suit and registered revenues close to $38.9 million, which served as another example of the city’s casinos bouncing back to form. This figure marked a year-over-year increase of 7.2%. The casino operates under the ownership of Ilitch Holdings led by billionaire Marian Ilitch, the co-founder of Little Caesars.

Rounding off the trio, Hollywood Casino at Greektown recorded a GGR of approximately $28 million. Despite a minor slowdown in its winnings of 1.4% from the previous year, the casino, managed by Penn Entertainment, played a crucial role in Detroit’s casino market revival.

Sports betting, an increasingly popular segment, saw a handle of $17.25 million, held at the three casinos. Leading the climbers was Hollywood’s ESPN Bet sportsbook with a sports betting revenue of $731,389 closely followed by MotorCity’s FanDuel book at $539K and MGM Grand’s BetMGM book at roughly $327,800.

Post a rocky start to the year where GGR tumbled more than 9% to a meager $94.4 million, Detroit’s casinos indeed needed a strong month. Although February saw an uptick, the winnings fell short when compared to 2023’s $104.6 million.

Despite the encouraging recovery in March, the first quarter’s total GGR still lags 1.6% in comparison to the same time frame in 2023. The income downturn from 2024 versus 2023 gets starker as these casinos had already faced a near 3% drop in annual revenues from 2022.

Meanwhile, online gaming and sports betting on the rise in Michigan since 2021, have immensely benefited the state. The advent of legal iGaming lent an opportunity to the state’s tribes holding Class III gaming compacts to engage in fruitful partnerships with online gaming giants like DraftKings and Golden Nugget Online Gaming. This proved to be a boon for them as these gaming platforms are not regulated by Detroit’s terrestrial casinos.

The iGaming sector reached a new zenith in 2023 with online slots and table games earning a staggering $1.9 billion from remote players. Along with the tribes, online sports betting platforms also triumphed, persuading bettors to part with a massive figure of $420.4 million.

With March’s exact results slated for release next week, it is evident that the online gaming sector has witnessed substantial growth. January and February already saw a revenue boost of 23%, gaining an extra $68.8 million compared to the same period in 2023, while contributions from the Detroit casinos touched the $200 million mark. As the online gaming landscape continues to evolve and thrive, the time ahead brims with exciting possibilities for this industry.