Detroit Casino Strike Continues
The first casino strike in the history of the gaming industry in the City of Detroit continued this week as both labor and management of the three Detroit casinos went back into negotiations. The strike launched on October 17th after the expiration of the prior collective bargaining agreement.
The Detroit Casino Council, a coalition of five unions (UNITE HERE local 24, UNITED AUTO WORKERS local 7777, TEAMSTERS local 1038, OPERATING ENGINEERS local 324, and the MICHIGAN REGIONAL COUNCIL OF CARPENTERS) representing approximately 3700 casino workers, identified five issues in a press release issued at the commencement of the strike:
- Protect healthcare standard;
- Job security/technology language;
- Increased retirement benefits;
- Reduced workloads that have increased as a result of labor reductions;
- “Secure the largest wage increases in the history of the Detroit casinos”.
The strike comes as the three Detroit casinos (Hollywood Casino at Greektown Detroit, MGM Grand Detroit, and MotorCity Casino and Hotel) are still striving to get revenues to return to pre-pandemic levels. Total adjusted gross receipts for the three casinos were $197 million less in 2022 compared to 2019 ($1,256,974,741 in 2022 and $1,454,274,694 in 2019) according to figures reported by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, leading to a reduction in workforce for the casinos. It is important to note that the adjusted gross receipts figures are for totals before the payment of taxes to the state of Michigan and to the City of Detroit and before other expenses, so they do not reflect profit figures.
On Tuesday of this week the casino workers received support from the Detroit City Council which unanimously adopted a Resolution supporting the Detroit Casino Council. The Resolution states, in relevant part:
RESOLVED, That the Detroit City Council supports and stands in solidarity with striking Detroit casino workers and the Detroit Casino Council as they continue to seek a resolution to the strike that results in improved compensation and working conditions for its members working for MGM Grand, MotorCity Casino Hotel, and Hollywood Casino at Greektown.”
In adopting the Resolution, the Detroit City Council referred to the Detroit casino industry generating a “record $2.27 billion” in gaming revenue in 2022. The actual total revenue number for the three Detroit retail casino locations was almost a billion dollars less than this figure ($1,256,974,741) in 2022. It appears that the City Council may have included revenues from iSports wagering and iGaming in producing the larger total in which the Council referenced. iSports and iGaming revenues are generated operationally through Internet platform providers (BetMGM, Barstool, and FanDuel) which are not part of the labor force for the Detroit casinos and, although generating significant tax revenue for the City and State, have a marginal impact on the retail casino operators’ profitability.
As the strike continues, both the casino workers and the casinos are trying to subsist. The workers on strike “will receive some alternate compensation” Detroit Casino Council spokesperson Meghan Cohorst said in an article in Global Gaming Business News. Meanwhile, all three Detroit casinos have remained open with some limitations on certain services. Details are available at the following links:
Bridgeport Township Raid Yields Numerous Gambling Devices, Thousands in Cash, More Than 18K in Gift Cards Confiscated
According to a press release issued by Michigan Gaming Control Board (“MGCB”), State of Michigan investigators executed two search warrants following a joint investigation by the Michigan Department of Attorney General and the MGCB. Six slot-type gaming machines — four of which were Nudgemaster machines, 11 computers, $6,306 in suspected gambling proceeds, and $182,430 in Simon Giftcards were confiscated.
Both searches were conducted with a team of special agents from the Department of Attorney General, the Bridgeport Township Police Department, the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, and the Liquor Control Commission. One search at the PlayStation Bar and Grill, located in Bridgeport Township, and a second search at a residence in Goodrich that was associated with the owner of the PlayStation and Universal Video, Inc.
“Business owners who house illegal, unregulated gaming machines in their establishments are breaking the law, creating opportunities for increased crime in communities, and allowing unnecessary consumer risk to those who use the machines, which do not meet the stringent regulatory requirements needed to ensure fair play. The public is encouraged to contact us if they see a casino-type gaming machine in a restaurant, gas station, or convenience store. We investigate every tip and work hard to protect Michigan citizens from such crime in their neighborhoods,” said MGCB Executive Director Henry Williams.
The searches in Bridgeport Township and Goodrich were spurred by an anonymous tip submitted by a concerned citizen who saw Nudgemaster casino-style gaming machines at the PlayStation Bar and Grill and suspected illegal gambling was taking place there. MGCB staff investigated and noticed that some of the video slot-type gaming machines were tagged with “Property of Universal Video” stickers. This led them to request the second search warrant at the PlayStation owner’s residence and the location of Universal Video, Inc.
“Our department works hand in hand with the Michigan Gaming Control Board in our efforts to shut down illegal gaming operations as a matter of public safety and consumer protection. Illegal gambling diverts revenues from our state and schools, and these operations can pose a danger to their neighborhoods as they typically attract other types of criminal activity,” said Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.