Detroit Casinos Suffer Revenue Decline as Union Strike Enters Second Month
In October 2023, Detroit’s three gaming properties reported a significant 18.3% decrease in revenue as union members went on strike. According to the Michigan Gaming Control Board, each casino experienced a decline in revenue compared to September data. MGM Grand Detroit saw a $37.3M revenue, down 16.5%, MotorCity Casino Hotel reported $25M, a 19.2% decrease, and Hollywood Casino at Greektown had $19.4M in revenue, down 20.2%.
The strike, initiated by 3,700 members of the Detroit Casino Council (DCC) on October 17, has continued for nearly a month, causing significant disruptions to the casinos’ operations.
Overall, the three casinos generated $82.8M in revenue in October, with $81.7M coming from table games, slot machines, and sports wagering making up the remaining $1.1M. These numbers are lower than the previous three months, with revenue dropping from $99.9M in September to $106.7M in July.
In addition, when comparing October 2023 to the same month in 2022, revenue also saw a decline at each gaming property. MGM Grand revenue decreased by 19.6%, MotorCity by 22.8%, and Hollywood Casino at Greektown by 11.7%. Furthermore, retail sports betting qualified adjusted gross receipts (QAGR) dropped 28.6% in October 2023 compared to September 2023.
Union members have called for a boycott of the casinos and affiliated online gambling sites, urging people not to enter the establishments. The unions involved in the DCC, which include Unite Here Local 24, United Auto Workers, Teamsters Local 1038, Operating Engineers Local 324, and the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters, represent card dealers, cleaning staff, food and beverage workers, valets, and engineers.
Negotiations between the unions and management have hit an impasse, with the main points of contention revolving around health care premiums and wage increases. The unions are demanding that health care premiums remain at zero, and wages be raised by $3.25/hour, while the casino companies are offering a reduction in health care premiums to $40 from $60, with a $1.95/hour wage increase during the first year of the contract.
As a response to the strike, the casinos have limited valet parking, and MotorCity Casino has temporarily closed high-limit table games, slot machines, and its poker room. The strike has also impacted the operations of restaurants and bars at Hollywood Casino at Greektown.
Despite the ongoing strike, the striking workers remain steadfast in their demands for a new contract that meets their priorities. Picketing continues, with employees expressing exhaustion and determination to hold out until an agreement is reached.
Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, members of the Culinary Union have reached tentative contracts with casino companies, avoiding a potential strike.