DETROIT Jan 21 Detroit is counting on taxes
from the city's three casinos to help it emerge from bankruptcy,
but prized as the city's casinos may be, they had a down year in
2013, state regulators said.
The city's total gambling revenue slipped 4.7 percent to
$1.35 billion last year, according to figures released by the
Michigan Gaming Control Board on Tuesday.
The decline means Detroit will receive less revenue from
gaming taxes, a key source of income for the bankrupt city. The
three casinos took in $1.42 billion in 2012.
The falloff in revenue, occurring in a year when Detroit
filed for bankruptcy even as its downtown and some nearby
neighborhoods showed signs of revival, was the steepest decrease
since the first casinos opened in 1999.
While it is not yet known how much casino tax revenue came
in to Detroit during the 2013 calendar year, the city took in
$174.5 million in casino tax revenue in its 2012-2013 fiscal
year which ended on June 30, a 3.8 percent decrease from the
previous fiscal year, according to an August 2013 report to the
Detroit City Council.
A spokesman for Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr did not
immediately respond to a request for comment.
Detroit filed the largest bankruptcy in U.S. municipal
history on July 18, saying it had more $18 billion in debt. A
judge officially declared the city bankrupt in December.
Richard Kalm, executive director of the Michigan Gaming
Control Board, said "it wasn't a surprise at all" that revenue
dropped, adding that the city has been following the revenue
"We've been reporting those revenue figures to the city of
Detroit, and they've been watching them really close because
obviously they're in bankruptcy and they're looking at all the
areas where they generate revenue."
"They've been on top of it," he said.
Orr has said the casino tax revenue is the city's most
stable source of income. The revenue has been tied up since 2009
as collateral in a costly interest-rate swap deal that Detroit
is fervently trying to end.
Last week U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes, who is
managing Detroit's case, rejected a deal that would have seen
the city end the swaps for $165 million, a price he called "too
The gaming market has been relatively stagnant in recent
years, said gaming analyst Jake Miklojcik, and increased
competition from casinos in neighboring Ohio and elsewhere in
Michigan have drawn gamblers away from Detroit.
"If you're not growing the market, you're just fighting for
the same patrons, which has some immediate value I suppose, but
when new competition comes in you're going to wane a little