Online Casino Revenue Still Flowing Amid Month Long Strike

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Last month, the “big three” retail casinos in Detroit faced worker strikes for over a month. Five different casino workers’ unions under the Detroit Casino Council led the demonstration.

Strike Begins Tuesday, October 17th

Picketing began when 3,700 began demonstrating on October 17th, 2023. The strike resulted in the three casinos and the city of Detroit losing millions in revenue and tax payments. However, the loss in retail casino revenue was offset by a busy month in online casino gaming.

Detroit Budget Director Steve Watson said the workers’ strike ended up costing the city around $2.5 million in lost tax revenue during October. Per day, that translates to about $180,000 in daily tax losses. Considering the city was anticipating losses of $450,000 daily, the $180,000 figure wasn’t too bad, comparatively. 

As of Sunday, November 19th, two of the three casinos have formed labor contracts that will increase pay and benefits for thousands of employees. 

Two Casinos Reach Resolution

MotorCity Casino and the Hollywood Casino at Greektown arrived at a resolution, ratifying two new labor contracts lasting five more years. 

Employees are now scheduled to receive a $3 raise that will eventually increase to $5 throughout the life of the contract. Housekeeping staff will also be receiving a workload reduction.

The new contract also specifies healthcare and severance requirements for employees who lose their jobs to improving technology, an implementation of a 401k employer matching plan, and a new paid holiday on Juneteenth. 

In-person vs. Online Casino Revenue

Throughout October as a whole, in-person casino wagering at the three casinos in Detroit was down 22% percent from September. Last month was the lowest revenue-generating October since October 2000. 

Despite the labor strikes, online casinos remained a popular alternative for players, with online casino revenue numbers reaching the third highest on record! Online casino gaming brought in revenue of $160.3 million in October. 

According to the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB), the state received $30.1 million in tax revenue during October, while local entities received $11.2 million. BetMGM’s casino was still the top-performing online casino brand for the month. Despite BetMGM’s 1st place finish, they were still down $4.1 million from their monthly average. 

New Records for Several Online Casinos

FanDuel Michigan, run by the MotorCity Casino in Detroit, reached a new online revenue record last month despite the strikes. BetRivers Michigan also experienced a record-breaking month for online gambling, generating $10.6 million in revenue. PointsBet: a “Fanatics Experience” also generated a record high month in October, with $2.16 million. It’s likely PointsBet’s recent acquisition and rebranding stirred the activity. 

Michigan’s online casino providers have had a solid month despite the strikes. Michigan as a whole, however, was unable to beat out other top-performing states in the US. Pennsylvania was able to generate $186.9 million in revenue in October, its second-highest month on record while New Jersey hit a new monthly record when it crossed the 166.8 million dollar mark.

Below are the complete revenue numbers by operator in Michigan during October:

Online BrandRetail Casino PartnerRevenuePromotionsTaxes
BetMGMMGM Grand Detroit$45,629,494$4,562,949$12,011,964
FanDuelMotorCity$36,952,740$3,695,274$9,727,809
DraftKingsBay Mills$32,248,249$3,224,825$8,126,559
BetRiversLittle River Band of Ottawa$10,632,070$1,063,207$2,679,282
Golden NuggetKeweenaw Bay$6,453,898$645,390$1,626,382
CaesarsGrand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa$5,925,633$592,563$1,493,259
BarstoolGreektown$3,319,682$331,968$873,906
Four WindsPokagon Band of Potawatomi$3,298,955$329,896$831,337
WynnBetSault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa$3,213,006$321,301$809,678
EagleSaginaw Chippewa$2,982,076$298,208$751,483
PokerStarsLittle Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa$2,549,726$254,973$642,531
PointsBetLac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa$2,158,314$215,831$537,868
Play Gun LakeMatch-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi$2,042,821$204,282$514,791
SIHannahville$1,561,444$154,385$364,657
FireKeepersNottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi$1,305,727$130,573$329,043

Mac Daniel is a writer for PlayOnlineCasino and PlayOnlineSportsBetting. He has experience writing about a wide variety of topics, including healthcare, tourism, non-profit organizations, and most recently casino and sportsbetting news. To check out more of his work, visit: playonlinemichigan.com