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Detroit casinos provide nearly $2 billion in taxes for public education, thousands of jobs since 1997 Michigan Gaming Act signed

Detroit, July 17, 2017 – Michigan has received more than $1.9 billion in casino tax revenue for public education since Gov. John Engler signed the Michigan Gaming & Revenue Act, which took effect July 17, 1997, and launched the commercial casino industry in Detroit. Additionally, the city of Detroit has received an estimated $2.6 billion in wagering taxes from the Detroit casinos to date since the first casino opened in 1999.

A legislative initiative approved by voters in November 1996 permitted up to three commercial gaming casinos in Detroit.  It also established a gaming control board to regulate casino gaming and imposed an 18 percent state tax on gross gaming revenues. The tax rate was amended in 2004, and the current tax rate is 8.1 percent to the state and 10.9 percent to the city of Detroit on the casinos’ adjusted gross receipts, or net win. The city also receives additional funding under development agreements it negotiated with the casinos.

“The Michigan Gaming Control Board grew from 19 people hired in 1997 to 138 people today,” said Richard Kalm, executive director of the agency since 2007. “The agency regulates not only the Detroit casinos but also pari-mutuel horse racing and charitable casino-style gaming. It also audits 12 tribes’ compliance with compacts covering 23 tribal casinos. For 20 years, the MGCB has been dedicated to protecting Michigan’s citizens by ensuring the integrity of gaming.”

The MGCB began processing casino license applications in April and May 1998. On July 28, 1999, the MGCB issued the first commercial casino license in Michigan to MGM Grand Detroit LLC. MotorCity Casino began operations less than three hours after the MGCB issued its license on Dec. 14, 1999. The MGCB issued the third and final authorized casino license to Greektown Casino LLC on Nov. 10, 2000.

Along with the three casinos, more than 1,400 businesses – including 800 Michigan companies that supply goods and services to the Detroit casinos  ?  register with or are licensed by the MGCB.

Both the casinos and the business that support them have created jobs in Michigan.

“Thousands of Michigan residents work at the casinos, and we license more than 6,800 of them,” Kalm said. “We conduct background investigations to determine the applicant’s suitability to work in the casinos.”

Some employees are exempt from licensing such as hotel, banquet and kitchen staff.

The agency also supports a disassociated persons program for problem gamblers.  Since its inception in 2001, more than 4,000 people voluntarily have banned themselves for life from the three Detroit casinos.

“Through the years, we oversaw the move from temporary to permanent casinos, watched the addition of hotels and other amenities and weathered the Greektown Casino bankruptcy,” Kalm said. “The MGCB has worked hard for 20 years to represent the interests of Michigan citizens while allowing the casinos’ management to run their businesses with reasonable oversight.”

The casino industry will continue to change as patrons’ interests evolve and technology brings new ways to game. The MGCB will adapt to these changes and new regulatory challenges while applying regulations reasonably, effectively and efficiently.

"The Michigan Gaming Control Board shall ensure the conduct of fair and honest gaming to protect the interests of the citizens of the State of Michigan."