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Detroit Casinos Fare Better in March, Gaming Revenue Nearly $114M

The Detroit gaming industry reported a strong showing last month, as the three downtown commercial casinos reported combined gross gaming revenue (GGR) of nearly $114 million.

The cleaning squad at MotorCity Casino is pictured last month. The casino was one of three in Detroit that saw play return in March. (Image: MotorCity Casino)

MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity, and Greektown collectively won $113.84 million. Table games and slot machines were responsible for $110.87 million, and retail sports betting $2.97 million. 

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) ordered the three casinos to close in mid-March of 2020. As a result, last month’s performance represented a 93 percent year-over-year GGR increase. March was also a more than 28 percent premium on February 2021. 

MGM commanded a 39 percent market share with GGR of $43.21 million. MotorCity was next at 38 percent by winning $42.04 million. Greektown placed a distant third at $25.62 million.

Restrictions Remain, But Casinos Recover

Detroit’s three commercial casinos are certainly trending in a positive direction. They continue to increase their gaming numbers since being allowed to reopen on December 21 of last year. 

However, March 2021 brick-and-mortar GGR remains down considerably from prior to the pandemic.

In March of 2019, Detroit’s three casinos experienced their best month ever. The gaming floors won a record $140.3 million — or about $26.5 million more than they did last month.

Casinos remain under a series of COVID-19 protocols aimed at stopping continued spread of the coronavirus. Most notably, the casinos are still restricted to operating at a maximum capacity of 30 percent. 

MGM says there has not be a single time since reopening in December that the casino floor reached its 30 percent capacity limit. Despite never having to form a waitlist for casino entry, MGM Grand and MotorCity have both debuted live occupancy information on their respective websites. 

During this writing (April 13 at 4:30 pm ET), the MGM Grand Detroit website disclosed it “is currently well under capacity. There is no wait to enter the casino.” MotorCity stated that it had “hundreds” of gaming positions available for occupancy. 

iGaming, Sports Betting Numbers Later

March’s GGR numbers for the Detroit casinos will greatly increase when GGR for their online operations and mobile sportsbooks are revealed later in the month.

iGaming and online sports betting went live in January of 2021. In February, internet operations were responsible for GGR of $89.2 million. Online casinos won $79.7 million, and mobile sportsbooks kept $9.5 million of the $301.9 million in bets wagered. 

If that GGR haul from iGaming and online sports betting is realized in March of 2021, the three Detroit casinos will actually be easily ahead of where they were in March of 2019. 

Michigan residents and visitors continue to show strong interest in internet gaming and sports betting,” said Richard Kalm, executive director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

Each of the three Detroit casinos are operational online with iGaming and sports betting. MGM Grand utilizes BetMGM, MotorCity is partnered with FanDuel, and Greektown with the Barstool Sportsbook. 

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