AGA Report Acknowledges Casino Gaming’s Importance To Michigan

The American Gaming Association has released its new report focusing on Michigan, conducted prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The study, titled ‘Casinos and Communities: Michigan,’ illustrates how vital casino gaming is to the economy of Michigan, and how important it is for the economic recovery of the state.

With first-hand accounts of the effect of gambling on the Michigan region, the report noted that the closure of casinos deprived provincial and local governments of $114.1 m in gambling tax revenue between March and July.

This includes $46.2 m allocated for public K-12 education and $67.9 m in lost revenue for Detroit City that funds programmes for community growth , economic growth measures designed to build local jobs, and other urban improvement projects.

Combined, the 27 commercial and tribal casinos in Michigan have an annual economic effect of $6.3bn on the state, raising $1.3bn in state and local taxes, the study reports. This also raises $2.1billion in wages and provides 38,000 workers.

In Michigan, communities depend on gambling to get the Great Lake State back on its feet for good jobs, investments and tax revenue with the reopening of its casinos said to be critical.

It was estimated that 800,000 jobs had been lost between 2000 and 2009 after the Great Depression, and the Great Recession of 2008 brought another series of blows to Michigan, resulting in the 2013 bankruptcy filing of the City of Detroit.

Michael O’Callaghan, former Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Center Executive VP and COO, said: “It was the most desperate big city in the United States a number of years ago when it went into bankruptcy,

“Now [Detroit] is out of bankruptcy and getting healthier,” said O’Callaghan, “and the casinos contributed to that.”

24 tribal casinos throughout Michigan provide funding for future-building for Native American families, businesses, and neighbourhoods. Derek King, County Commissioner for Calhoun, grew up in the area and saw the improvements in the Pink Creek Indian Reservation as a result of gaming.

He said: “Now they have built some of the most state-of-the-art facilities, buildings, and health departments [and the tribe is better able] to take care of and enable its members.”

Battle Creek City manager Rebecca Fleury views the effect of FireKeepers Casino Hotel as triple when it comes to economic benefits beyond tribal lands.  “Certainly, it does employ people in our area and there are many people that live in the city of Battle Creek that are employed by FireKeepers.”

Then, as Fleury noted, there are the indirect effects: “it brings people from all over the state and beyond the state of Michigan. They go to the casino, but they also come into downtown Battle Creek, they eat at local restaurants. Some of them like it so much they stay.”

Lastly, the tribe ‘s gaming agreement with the state expanded funding for local economic growth in Battle Creek, using tribal casino revenue sharing to promote public safety, facilities, parks, educational achievement and career paths. “I can’t think of an area that they haven’t touched with the money that they share with the community,” it was further noted.