Thousands of Detroit casino workers went on strike Tuesday at the city’s three gambling halls.
Workers hit the picket lines in tandem. Labor demands include “protecting healthcare, winning job security/technology language that already exists in other casino markets, improving the value of retirement where there has been no increase in eight years, reducing the high workloads that have resulted from 1500 fewer jobs post pandemic, and securing significant wage increases to make up for the ones workers sacrificed during the pandemic,” according to a statement from the Detroit Casino Council (DCC).
The stoppage comes at a time when mobile Michigan sports betting and other forms of gaming, both online and at brick-and-mortar facilities, is booming.
Strike Comes At Robust Time For Gambling
The Detroit strike, which began at noon, comes against a backdrop of robust gaming revenues in general as the gambling industry rallies from the financial setbacks related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The American Gaming Association, the trade organization that represents a wide swath of industry interests, reported this year that January-June 2023 total gross gaming revenues for the industry were $37.91 billion, an 11% increase over the same period in 2022.
The three commercial casinos in Detroit with labor stoppages are MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino and Hollywood Casino at Greektown. The union, which represents 3,700 workers, said the labor walkout involves a range of jobs including dealers, cleaning staff, food and beverage workers, valets, engineers, and other jobs.
Whether the work stoppage would impact gaming property operations enough to cause a shutdown was uncertain, though news reports noted that the Detroit MGM casino said it would not shut down.
Michigan Online Casinos Available
An interesting factor involving a work stoppage is that all three casinos now also offer online casino gambling – something that didn’t exist prior to 2019, when Michigan online gaming became legal. During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, casino companies – and the states that counted on gaming taxes – were cushioned financially somewhat from the impact of mandatory health shutdowns because games on mobile devices were available.
Dozens of states have brick-and-mortar casinos, but only seven have legalized what is known as iGaming, which is online casino gambling, such as slots and table games. Michigan is one of those states with iGaming along with New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island (launch in 2024).
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