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US – Detroit casinos to lose $67m during three-week shutdown

By - 23 November 2020

Michigan’s commercial casinos all must close for three weeks, as the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued an emergency order Nov. 15. With COVID-19 cases at an all-time high in the state, the emergency order forces the casinos to close from November 18 to December 8.

The state’s commercial casinos, all located in Detroit, include the MGM Grand, MotorCity Casino Hotel, and Greektown Casino-Hotel. The three casinos stand to lose $67 million in revenue during the three-week shutdown, based on projections from MichiganSharp.com.

Despite a 15% capacity limitation, Detroit casinos earned $101.4m in revenue in October. Based on that figure, the three-week shutdown projects to $67 million in lost revenue for Michigan’s commercial casinos.

That projection includes $5 million in lost sports betting revenue, based on $7.6m in October earnings from sportsbooks at the three Detroit casinos.

Michigan regulators were hopeful for a November launch of statewide online sports betting, but recent snags in the regulation process could push the launch back to December, or even early 2021.

Online sports betting and casinos continue to boom in states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Both states realised record revenue figures for both mobile sports betting and casinos this summer.

Mobile wagering accounts for more than 80 percent of overall sports betting revenue in both states.

If that 80 per cent metric is applied to the three Detroit casinos, Michigan’s commercial retail sportsbooks project to miss out on $30 million in monthly revenue during the fall sports season, including $2.5m in lost tax revenue for Michigan.

“The sports betting boom across the US comes from the popularity of mobile wagering,” said Geoff Fisk, analyst for MichiganSharp. “We likely won’t see any states where retail sportsbook revenue comes anywhere close to what mobile wagering can produce.”

New Jersey went over $200 million in 2020 mobile sports betting revenue in September, while Pennsylvania topped $87 million.

MichiganSharp.com projects that online casinos and sports betting could bring in $650m in annual revenue for Michigan’s commercial and tribal casinos. That projection includes $250m from online casinos, producing an additional $5m in monthly tax revenue.

“The pandemic can’t shut down online gaming platforms,” Fisk said. “Mobile gaming is vital to the survival of the retail casino industry.”

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