Detroit Casino Council Demands Boycott of iGaming as Strike Enters Second Month



  • Striking members of the Detroit Casino Council have intensified calls for the boycott of online casino operations by Detroit-based operators.
  • With a full month gone behind the picket lines, the DCC hopes that turning its focus to the iGaming segment of Detroit casinos could trigger action.
  • In the same vein, one of the three Detroit casinos has expressed its displeasure at the proposed Detroit Strikers Bill of Rights.

The ongoing Detroit casino workers’ strike is now in its second month with practically no end in sight. However, as the weeks pile up on the industrial action, there are new twists and turns from both ends of the divide.

Most recently, with negotiations still at an impasse, the Detroit Casino Council is looking to force action from casino employers by calling for an online casino boycott. For two of the three Detroit casinos, iGaming accounts for the biggest chunk of their revenue. So, it’s not surprising to see the DCC clamor for a virtual strike that will significantly impact finances at Detroit’s three casinos.

Detroit Casino Council Looking for Attention Beyond Physical Gaming Floors

According to the Michigan Gaming Control Board, Detroit casinos recorded only $82.8 million in October, their lowest tally since the pandemic. This figure is even more astonishing considering that the strike only affected the second half of the month while most casinos claimed to be working at 50% capacity or more.

Now that the strike has just crossed its fifth week, the Detroit Casino Council is looking to possibly inflict more economic woes, hoping it will trigger a response by the casinos. By calling for a boycott of online casinos operated from Detroit, the DCC thinks it can effectively end the strike.

“Online sports betting and online casino platforms like FanDuel, ESPN BET, and BetMGM are critical sources of revenue for the companies that operate Detroit’s three casinos. Workers have been outside the physical locations 24/7 since going out on strike three weeks ago to win a fair contract. Now, they’re calling on the public not to cross their virtual picket line either, and to boycott these apps until the strike is settled,” Nia Winston, President of UNITE HERE Local 24, said in a press statement.

All three Detroit casinos have iGaming platforms. MGM Grand Detroit operates BetMGM Casino MI while Hollywood Casino at Greektown collaborates with PENN Entertainment to manage Barstool Online Casino, soon to be ESPN. On the other flip side, MotorCity Casino and FanDuel simply have a working legal relationship without any ownership rights like the other two casinos.

How iGaming Strike or Boycott Could Affect Detroit Casinos

Despite being restricted to retail gaming centers, the current strike has wiped about $20 million off the usual $100 million monthly revenue we saw from Detroit casinos this year. One can only imagine how much more may be lost to a possible online casino strike.

Well, here are some numbers to help you understand the possible implications.

There have been about 272 days from the start of the year till September, the last month for which revenue figures are available. In that period BetMGM Michigan Casino has generated $447 million, making up an average of $1.64 million in revenue daily.

For FanDuel Michigan Casino, this amount stands at $281.5 million while Barstool Casino generated $30.8 million in the same period. This figure puts FanDuel’s daily revenue at about $1.03 million while Barstool pulls in $113,101 every day.

Adding online sports betting will further take these numbers a notch higher. But in all, even a partial strike could see Detroit casinos lose between 60-75% of their total revenue. This is not just bad for the casino, but it also poses a big dilemma for the entire Michigan industry as BetMGM and FanDuel are its revenue leaders across the iGaming and sports betting sectors of its gambling market.

Hollywood Casino Disappointed with Detroit Fire Department Over Bonfires

In similar news, Hollywood Casino Greektown has expressed displeasure at the Detroit Fire Department for allowing striking staff to use propane heaters and controlled bonfires. In the fourth week of the strike, the DCC had marched to the city hall requesting a bill of rights. Included in that demand was permission to use propane heaters and controlled bonfires amid lowering temperatures.

“We are incredibly disappointed with the fire department’s irresponsible choice to allow the Detroit Casino Council to light bonfires adjacent to our facility,” John Drake, the VP & General Manager of Hollywood Casino at Greektown said in a press release.

“While we continue to have constructive discussions with their leadership to reach a resolution to the work stoppage, striking members have regularly chanted ‘burn it down’ as they picket our building. This reckless decision could endanger our team members, customers, and neighboring businesses, as well as the broader public.”

Jessica is a news contributor to Gamble Online Michigan. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics but has over three years of experience working in the hospitality and gambling industry. Despite her core finance and investment banking background, she has been a casino feature writer for N1 Interactive Limited and multiple gambling affiliate sites. Her work has been featured on the bet365 blog, and Max Force Racing. She spends her time between Michigan and California, staying up-to-date on the latest industry developments