by Mateusz Mazur

Detroit Casino Workers Strike: A Battle for Fairness Amidst Online Betting Boycott

Detroit has been witnessing a significant labor movement, as casino workers from MGM Grand Detroit, Hollywood at Greektown, and MotorCity have been on strike since October 17.

The Strike and Its Impact

The Detroit Casino Council (DCC), representing these workers, is intensifying their efforts by calling for a public boycott against prominent online betting platforms like FanDuel, ESPN BET, Hollywood iCasino, and BetMGM. This move, announced on Friday, is part of a digital ad campaign set to launch on November 13, aiming to deter users from these apps until the strike concludes.

Interestingly, the boycott does not include other major platforms such as Caesars Sportsbook, Caesars Palace Online Casino, WynnBET, DraftKings, and Sports Illustrated Sportsbook.

The Reasons Behind the Strike

The strike, a result of expired contracts with the three casinos, is driven by the workers’ demands for better wages, strengthened retirement plans, and protection against the impacts of new technology implementation.

Nia Winston, president of UNITE HERE Local 24, emphasized the importance of these online platforms as significant revenue sources for the casino operators and urged the public to support the workers by not crossing the “virtual picket line.”

The Casinos’ Current State

Despite the ongoing strike, the three casinos remain operational, albeit with several temporary closures and service limitations. MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino, and Hollywood Casino at Greektown have suspended valet parking services, relying solely on self-parking garages for customer access.

Additionally, MotorCity Casino has temporarily closed its high limit table games, first-floor slots, poker room, D.TOUR Spa, and Lacquer Gift Shop, along with the radio bar.

The striking workers, represented by five different unions and totaling about 3,700 members, are fighting for healthcare benefits, better wages, job security, and fair workloads. Their resilience remains strong, despite the physical and emotional toll of the month-long strike.

Financial Repercussions

The Michigan Gaming Control Board reported revenue losses at all three Detroit gaming centers for October, with each casino experiencing losses ranging from around $5 million to $7 million.

The market shares for October stood at 46% for MGM, 31% for MotorCity, and 23% for Hollywood Casino at Greektown. Furthermore, Hollywood Casino at Greektown has reduced its restaurant hours and altered beverage services.

Our Comment on the Article

The ongoing strike by Detroit casino workers highlights a critical struggle for fair labor practices in the face of technological advancements and changing industry dynamics. The decision to boycott major online betting platforms is a strategic move to pressure the casinos into meeting the workers’ demands.

It underscores the growing influence of online gambling on traditional casino revenues and the power of collective action. This labor dispute is not just a local issue but a reflection of broader challenges faced by workers in the evolving gaming and hospitality industries. As the strike continues, its outcome will likely have significant implications for labor relations and the future of casino operations in Detroit and beyond.


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