Detroit Casinos doing Very Well in 2015

Detroit casinos have seen a gradual decline in recent years, but in 2015, that trend appears to be erasing itself. According to the Michigan Gaming Control Board, gambling revenues for the city’s casinos are up 4.8 percent through this year’s first six months, as compared to January through June of last year.

Jacob Miklojcik, a Lansing-based gaming consultant, told the Detroit Free Press that he believes the turnaround has to do with more-affordable gas prices and a better economy.

“The economy is doing better and you’ve got more disposable income because of gas prices,” said Miklojcik. “That shows up in how people spend their recreational money.”

Miklojcik’s opinion is partially backed by historical records on gas prices, which show a drop from $3.80 last year to $2.95 this year for Detroit-area residents. Other factors that he didn’t mention could include more suburban residents traveling downtown and a budding convention business for Detroit.

Casinos have also been running frequent promotions to draw people to casinos, but it’s unclear if this is resulting in more profits along with increased revenue.

“If everyone had a big cash-back effort you’d see higher revenues, but that’s not profit gain,” Miklojcik said.

In any case, it’s at least good to see that overall gaming revenue is up for Detroit casinos, which have seen their revenue on a steady decline ever since 2012. And the money that they’re bringing in could be even more impressive when banquet, hotel and food sales enter the equation.

This bodes well for the city of Detroit, which regained access to gambling tax revenue after exciting bankruptcy in December. Gaming taxes have accounted for 16% of the city’s revenue, or around $170 million total so far. This money must go towards specific avenues, such as anti-gang programs, police and fire protection, economic development and “other programs that are designed to contribute to the improvement of the quality of life in the city.”

Below you can see exact figures on each of Detroit’s three casinos for January through June, including Greektown, which declared bankruptcy in 2013 and was purchased by Quicken Loans owner Dan Gilbert:

MGM Grand Detroit – $150.9 million (4.8% increase from Q2 2014)
MotorCity Casino Hotel – $117.4 million (5.4% increase from Q2 2014)
Greektown Casino-Hotel – $82 million (2% increase from Q2 2014)