MI Casinos Thrive Amidst Labor Disruptions, Hitting $160.3M Revenue in October



  • In October, Michigan online casinos generated $160.3 million worth of revenue despite the workers' strike which affected Detroit retail casinos.
  • October’s gross receipts is the third highest monthly total recorded in the Great Lakes State since internet gaming was legalized.
  • MGM Grand Detroit fell further from its average monthly revenue but still managed to retain the number one spot among MI online casino operators.

The online gambling industry in Michigan saw perhaps its worst disruption in years when Detroit retail casino workers embarked on an indefinite strike midway into October. Although the picketing has now been called off in two of three locations, the strike lasted throughout October, causing affected casinos to operate below their full capacity.

Industry stakeholders believed that the strike would have mostly positive effects for online gambling in the state, in hopes that closed gaming floors would increase adoption of online casinos. Now that the Michigan Gaming Control Board has revealed revenue statistics for October, the results appear to be mixed.

October Revenue Emerges Third Highest Monthly Total Despite 3.7% Drop from September 

Michigan online casinos combined to report a total revenue of $160.3 million in October 2023. This figure marks the third-highest monthly tally recorded since the state legalized internet gaming. Only September 2023 and March 2023 were higher than the gross receipts generated last month.

October’s figures indicated a 3.7% decline from September when Michigan online casinos pooled $166.4 million. On a year-over-year comparison though, the past month was significantly better with a 13.7% jump over October 2022’s $141 million.

Despite the relatively positive outlook, the revenue from October is slightly disappointing when several other factors are considered. For instance, a retail casino like MGM Grand Detroit, the operators of BetMGM saw losses of about $12 million due to the strike. One would expect that this amount would be transferred to the online casino segment.

Instead, BetMGM Online Casino Michigan only managed to generate $45.6 million. Between January to September this year, the casino had maintained an average monthly total of $49.7 million. October’s figures became clear that the casino not only lost on the retail end, but that the strike also affected online casino input. 

Besides, other states saw significantly improved revenue figures in October, indicating a national online casino growth trend. New Jersey, for instance, recorded its highest ever monthly revenue in October with a total of $166.8 million. Similarly, Pennsylvania generated a whopping $186.9 million in October, its second-highest monthly total. Following this trend, Michigan online casinos would reasonably be expected to have crossed $170 million at least.

FanDuel, BetRivers and PointsBet All Set Monthly Revenue Records in October 

While hopes for the entire industry to achieve a new all-time high in October were dashed, some individual casinos managed to set the milestone for themselves. One particularly remarkable operator was FanDuel Michigan. The casino is the online partner of MotorCity Casino, one of the Detroit retail locations that joined in the strike.

Like BetMGM’s MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity also ended October with about 22% less revenue than its average monthly total. However, some part of that loss was directed to the online casino segment as FanDuel generated $36.9 million to set a new monthly record for itself. Another Detroit-based online casino, Barstool Casino (now Hollywood Online Casino) achieved $3.3 million, its highest monthly gross receipt since July this year.

PointsBet, a “Fanatics Experience” is also having a strong start since its rebranding. It achieved a record monthly high of $1.88 million in September and subsequently surpassed that figure with its revenue of $2.16 million in October. This makes two consecutive record-breaking months.

BetRivers Casino MI also cashed in $10.6 million in October, its highest ever monthly revenue and the second time it crossed the $10 million milestone. The last time was in August when the casino pooled $10.5 million. BetRivers has now gone for four consecutive months with a revenue of $9 million or more.

Michigan Online Casinos Near Annual Revenue for 2022 with Two Months to Spare 

Year to date, Michigan online casinos have now generated a total of $1.57 billion. This is quite impressive, considering that throughout 2022, iGaming only pooled $1.58 billion worth of revenue. As it stands, the current online casino revenue total from January to October is 22% greater than during the same period in 2022 when the industry recorded $1.28 billion.

With two months to spare and increased expectations going into the end of the year, the state’s online casino industry is expected to cross $1.90 billion.

Not much changed with online casino tax payments. The 15 operators combined to pay a total of $30.1 million to the state and another $11.2 million to local authorities.

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, casino.zone and Max Force Racing. She spends her time between Michigan and California, staying up-to-date on the latest industry developments