FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—November 10, 2023
Contact: Meghan Cohorst, [email protected], 239-503-1533
Striking Detroit Casino Workers Call for Boycotts of Online Betting Platforms FanDuel, ESPN BET, Hollywood iCasino, and BetMGM
Online ad campaign to target users who may not be aware that platforms are affiliated with three casinos where workers have been forced on strike since October 17
DETROIT—The Detroit Casino strike is extending into cyberspace. Today, the Detroit Casino Council (DCC) is calling on the public to boycott four sports betting and online casino platforms associated with the three casinos where workers have been forced on strike: FanDuel (MotorCity Casino), soon-to-be-launched ESPN BET and Hollywood iCasino (Hollywood Casino at Greektown), and BetMGM (MGM Grand Detroit).
In conjunction with the boycott, the DCC will launch a digital ad campaign on Monday, November 13, targeting users of the online platforms to inform them of the ongoing labor disputes and encourage them not to use the apps until Detroit’s casino industry offers their workers fair wages and benefits and workers are no longer on strike. Some users of online sports betting and casino apps may be unaware that workers at the brick-and-mortar casinos that hold online gambling licenses in Michigan are on strike.
On Tuesday, Oct. 17, unionized casino workers at MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino, and Hollywood Casino at Greektown launched a wall-to-wall strike affecting 3,700 casino workers, including dealers, cleaning staff, food and beverage workers, valets, engineers, and more. Workers have been forced on strike to protect their healthcare and improve wages that are not keeping up with the cost of living, along with improved job security and fair workloads. It is the first casino strike in Detroit history.
“Online sports betting and online casino platforms like FanDuel, ESPN BET, and BetMGM are critical sources of revenue for the companies that operate Detroit’s three casinos,” said Nia Winston, President of UNITE HERE Local 24. “Workers have been outside the physical locations 24/7 since going out on strike three weeks ago to win a fair contract. Now, they’re calling on the public not to cross their virtual picket line either, and to boycott these apps until the strike is settled.”
Other apps such as Caesars Sportsbook, Caesars Palace Online Casino, WynnBET, DraftKings, Sports Illustrated Sportsbook, and others are not part of the boycott.
Detroit’s casino workers sacrificed raises and shouldered heavier workloads so the industry could recover from the pandemic. In September 2020, workers agreed to a three-year contract extension with minimal wage increases to help the industry get back on its feet. Since then, Detroit casino workers have received only 3% raises, but inflation in Detroit has risen 20%. In contrast, industry gaming revenues have now surpassed pre-pandemic levels to reach a new record high. In 2022, the Detroit casino industry generated $2.27 billion in gaming revenue from in-person and online gaming, and the industry is on track for another record-breaking year in 2023.
The Detroit Casino Council (DCC) is UNITE HERE Local 24, the UAW, Teamsters Local 1038, Operating Engineers Local 324, and the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters. These five unions represent most of the workers at the three casinos in Detroit: Hollywood Casino at Greektown, MGM Grand Detroit, and MotorCity Casino. Our members work in food and beverage, housekeeping, retail outlets, slots and table games, engineering and more. The DCC partner unions are part of International Unions that have experience representing gaming workers and winning great contracts throughout the United States, including in Las Vegas and Atlantic City.