The opening of Hollywood Casino in Toledo is expected to cut into the profits of Detroit's three casinos. That means the City of Detroit stands to lose millions in tax revenue.
13 ABC's Christine Long just returned from the Motor City. She's live in Toledo with more on the casino competition.
Detroit casinos expect to lose some Toledo gamblers who choose to play here closer to home instead of driving an hour north up I-75. However, it is Day Three at Hollywood Casino and we've seen a lot of gamblers making the trip south to Toledo from all over Michigan.
The City of Detroit is home to three casinos with attached hotels: MGM Grand, Greektown, and Motor City. Altogether they rake in a total of $1.4 billion in revenue every year. But gaming experts predict they'll see a four percent cut because of the new player in Toledo.
"It may have some impact on Detroit but it's not something we're focused on," says Peter Carlino, Chairman and CEO of Penn National Gaming which operates Toledo's Hollywood Casino. "We're not trying to steal business from Detroit. We're trying to build business here. So time will tell just how that works out."
Leaders of Detroit's three casinos are not commenting to 13 ABC about losing gamblers to Toledo, but they are not giving up without a big advertising fight.
This Greektown billboard is prominently placed in Downtown Toledo on Summit and Monroe across from the Seagate Center.
"We're in a financial crisis even with three casinos," says Detroit City Councilman Kwame Kenyatta.
Kenyatta says any loss for the casinos is a loss for city coffers.
In 2009 the City of Detroit collected more than $125 million in taxes from the Big Three.
With the Toledo factor, Detroit could lose $4 million a year in tax revenue.
However, Kenyatta supports a proposal to ask voters on the November ballot to increase the percentage casinos pay.
"I think we have to require more of them. so they have to share more of the profit," says Kenyatta. "Much of their profit leaves the city of Detroit, it doesn't stay here regardless of what happens in Toledo."
There is another casino near Detroit bracing for the impact from Toledo. It's located across the Detroit River in Canada. The spokesperson for Caesars Windsor says the opening of Toledo's Hollywood Casino is on their radar. However, they're not too worried about losing customers.
"We're keeping an eye on business, but right now it's too early to tell," says Jhoan Baluyot, spokesperson for Caesars Windsor.
Caesars Windsor prides itself on being a destination. It's home to much more than gambling. The complex has more than 700 hotel rooms, five restaurants, plus a 5,000-seat theater called the Coliseum which draws big acts.
"We've attracted big names like Celine Dion, LL Cool J, upcoming we have Reba and some great comedy acts," says Baluyot. "We offer a lot here that the Toledo casino doesn't."
Unlike Detroit casinos, Windsor's casino is non-smoking. Toledo's Hollywood Casino is also non-smoking.