The Michigan Gaming News Letter

Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Elect New Tribal Council Members

The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians announced the election of the newest members of the Tribal council in a press release issued on August 15, 2022. These members were sworn in during a ceremony on Saturday, August 13, 2022.  Gary Morseau Sr. was elected as Vice Chair, Alex Wesaw was elected Treasurer, and Rhonda Keene and Mark Parrish were both elected to Member At Large positions.

“I’m looking forward to a productive year with those new to Council and those continuing to fulfill their terms,” commented Chairwoman Rebecca Richards.  “I would personally like to thank our outgoing Vice Chair, Andrew Bennett, and outgoing Member At Large, Anita Morales for their service to our Tribal Council and our Nation.”

Other members of the 11-member Tribal Council continuing in their terms include Chairwomen Rebecca Richards; Secretary, Sam Morseau; Member At Large, Mark Topash; Member At Large, Brandon Rapp; Member At Large, Steve Winchester; and Elders Representative, Barbara Ann Warren. The Executive Secretary position is currently vacant. Any adult Pokagon Citizen can run for Tribal Council.

The Pokagon Tribal Council governs the sovereign government of the Pokagon Band and contains 11 positions, all of which are elected to staggered, three-year terms by Pokagon Citizens. Within the Tribal Council the executive officers include positions of Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. Pokagon Tribal Council Members also serve on the Pokagon Gaming Authority, which oversees the Pokagon Band’s Four Winds Casinos.

More information on The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians of Michigan and Indiana can be found here.


Michigan Internet Gaming and Sports Betting Operators Report Combined $148.2 Million in July Total Gross Receipts

As reported by the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB), Michigan commercial and tribal internet casino gaming and sports betting operators reported a combined $148.2 million total gross receipts in July. July receipts increased by 8.3% when compared to last month.

July internet gaming gross receipts were $126.6 million, increasing 4.2% from $121.5 million reported in June 2022. Gross sports receipts totaled $21.6 million, increasing 40.0% when compared with June 2022.

Combined total adjusted gross receipts of $131.2 million were reported for July, including $117.2 million from internet gaming and $14 million for internet sports betting. Total monthly internet gaming adjusted gross receipts increased 7.1% from July 2022, and internet sports betting adjusted gross receipts climbed by $9 million or 179.5%.

Compared with July 2021, this month’s internet gaming adjusted gross receipts increased 41%, and internet sports betting adjusted gross sports betting receipts were up 13%.

Total internet sports betting handle at $206.1 million was down by 23.7% compared with June 2022 results of $270 million.

The operators delivered $24.9 million in taxes and payments to the State of Michigan during July, with internet gaming taxes and fees contributing $24.1 million and internet sports betting taxes and fees contributing $815,409.

The three Detroit Casinos – MotorCity Casino, MGM Grand Detroit, and Greektown Casino – reported city wagering taxes and municipal service fees of $6.9 million, with internet gaming taxes and fees contributing $6.5 million and internet sports betting taxes and fees contributing $386,187 for the month of July.

Tribal operators reported making total payments of $2.7 million of wagering payments to the tribes’ governing bodies according to the MGCB.

For the first seven months of 2022, aggregate internet gaming adjusted gross receipts totaled $798.9 million, and aggregate internet sports betting adjusted gross receipts were $88.1 million.

An online gaming and sports betting revenue distribution table is available on the agency’s website.

During July, 15 operators were authorized for one or both forms of online wagering. Details for each operator’s internet gaming and internet sports betting results are available and published on the MGCB website.


Gun Lake Casino Distributes $750,000 in Quarterly Bonuses to Its Team Members

In a press release, Gun Lake Casino (“GLC”) announced that GLC team members received over $750,000 in bonuses in its most recent distribution. GLC regularly distributes quarterly bonus incentive payments as a means of recognizing the role of each GLC team member. GLC has awarded over $22 million to team members through its bonus program since 2011. In addition to bonuses, GLC offers an industry-leading hourly wage and benefits package to further its commitment to being the best employer in West Michigan.

Sal Semola, the CEO of Gun Lake Casino, said, “Here at Gun Lake Casino, we have a genuine desire to care for the needs of our team members both professionally and in their personal lives. Our quarterly bonus program reflects the appreciation we have for our team, which is so integral to our core commitment of providing the best experience for our guests. Part of our mission is also to improve the quality of life in our community.”

For three consecutive years in a row, including this year, GLC was acknowledged as one of “West Michigan’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For” by the National Association for Business Resources (“NABR”). Additionally, GLC was named the #1 casino in Revue Magazine’s “Best of the West” annual awards. Also, two of GLC’s dining venues debuted on Revue’s list since opening last September. Shkodé Chophouse was voted top 3 in the “New Restaurants” category, and CBK was voted top 3 in the “Beer Bar” category.

GLC is undergoing a current Phase 5 expansion that will feature a 15-story hotel tower with a spa and meeting space. The resort will feature a 32,000-square-foot entertainment dome with year-round 80-degree temperature and three separate swimming pools. As GLC continues to grow in size, there is a growth in opportunities for job seekers.

Gun Lake Casino employs over 1,100 team members, making it one of the largest employers in Allegan County. The many positions at Gun Lake Casino range from hourly to salary and from part-time to full-time. Team members receive a wide array of highly valued benefits.


Lam Vongsakoun Named Gun Lake Casino’s New VP of Hospitality

In a press release, Gun Lake Casino (“GLC”) announced the selection of Lam Vongsakoun as its Vice President of Hospitality, effective immediately. He will oversee the current food and beverage operations, and future hotel expansion. Vongsakoun brings a wealth of experience leading culinary and hospitality teams over the last 25 years.

“Lam Vongsakoun is a leader in the casino hospitality industry that we are fortunate to have on our team, and I am thrilled that he has already hit the ground running. His experience and skillset make him uniquely qualified to lead our food and beverage operations immediately while playing a key role in planning and implementation of our expansion into the Midwest’s best hotel casino resort,” said Jose Flores, Vice President, and General Manager for Gun Lake Casino.

Vongsakoun joins the team at a key moment in the property’s continued growth as it transitions to a world class resort. The expansion plan in the current Phase 5 will feature a hotel tower with a spa and meeting space, 32,000 square feet entertainment dome with 3 separate swimming pools for both family and adult entertainment.

More information can be found at Gun Lake Casino’s website.


GGB’s Gaming & Technology Awards Nominations Deadline is Quickly Approaching

Don’t miss your opportunity to be a part of the casino industry’s most prestigious awards for technology, products and services that enhance the gaming experience.  The honors are designed to recognize and encourage innovation and technology in the rapidly changing casino industry.  The winners will be announced in the November issue of Global Gaming Business (“GGB”) magazine.

The deadline is August 26, 2022. Submit your award-winning entry today! More information on the Gaming & Technology Award categories can be found here.


U.S. Commercial Gaming Industry Ties for Highest-Grossing Quarter

According to the press release issued by The American Gaming Association (“AGA”) presents its Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker, revealed that Q2 2022 set a new record as the highest-grossing gaming revenue quarter in industry history.

Revenue data reported by each state and complied by the AGA shows that nationwide gaming industry win from traditional casino games, sports betting and iGaming surpassed $14.81 billion in Q2 2022, a 8.8% jump year-over-year and 3.3% higher than the previous quarterly record from Q4 of 2021.

Second quarter revenue from traditional slot machines and table games generated $12.17 billion or 82.2% of total commercial gaming revenue. Sports betting grossed $1.42 billion and iGaming $1.21 billion.

Through the first half of 2022, commercial sports betting remains on track for another record setting year with revenue reaching $3.04 billion, up 63.9% from the same time last year.  Same market revenue gained 12.2% compared to the first 6 months 2021.

2022 has been iGaming’s fastest start to a year with $2.42 billion in revenue during the first half, up nearly 43.5% from the previous record set in 2021. Same market revenue gained 35.7% compared to the first half of 2021.

AGA President and CEO Bill Miller noted: “With $29.2 billion generated through the first half of the year, 2022 commercial gaming revenue is pacing 18% ahead of 2021—the industry’s current record year. While we should celebrate another milestone for our industry, I know we are all eager to see how current economic conditions will impact us in the second half of the year. Our 16-month growth streak since March 2021 shows that we are well-positioned for the long term and for any headwinds in the short term.”

The full market breakdown can be found here, on the Commercial Gaming Revenue Tracker.


Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Held to Celebrate the Expanded Gaming Floor at Four Winds South Bend

According to a press release on August 18 2022, The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and its Four Winds Casinos hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony yesterday to mark the opening of the expanded gaming floor at Four Winds South Bend. The newly expanded gaming floor now covers more than 98,000 square feet and includes 1,900 slot machines, 27 table games, a new high limit area, an additional cage and cashier area.  The expanded gaming floor is part of a large-scale expansion at the property which will also feature a new 23-story hotel tower with 317 hotel rooms including 83 suites, spa, convention area with a ballroom and meeting space, a café, an outdoor swimming pool and terraces with spectacular views. This expansion is slotted to be completed in the beginning of 2023.

Commenting on the newly expanded gaming floor, Rebecca Richards, Tribal Chairwoman of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi said, “It’s hard to believe we opened our first Four Winds Casino location 15 years ago in New Buffalo, Michigan on August 2, 2007.  We couldn’t be more proud of the success of our four casino locations, which is a credit to our hardworking casino operations team and all of our Four Winds team members.  We’d also like to thank our project manager, general contractors, construction workers and vendors in helping us reach this important milestone.”

Frank Freedman, Chief Operating Office of Four Winds Casinos added, “Today’s unveiling of the newly expanded gaming floor at Four Winds South Bend will provide guests with a glimpse of what’s to come for the remaining build-out.  During our 15-year-history we’ve continually strived to not only offer something distinctively unique, but also raise the bar for gaming in the Midwest by way of our amenities, dining options, entertainment and excellent service provided by our warm and welcoming staff.  We are very excited for guests to experience our new slots and table games, and we look forward to showing more of what Four Winds South Bend has to offer in the coming months.”