Detroit: Striking casino workers urge public to boycott FanDuel, ESPN BET, Hollywood iCasino and BetMGM

The Detroit Casino Council (DCC), which represents workers at Detroit casinos, has urged the public to boycott four sports betting and online casino platforms affiliated with the city’s three gambling venues, currently experiencing worker strikes. These platforms include FanDuel (Motor City Casino), the soon-to-be-launched ESPN Bet and Hollywood iCasino (Hollywood at Greek Town), and BetMGM (MGM Grand Detroit).

The DCC announced that it will launch a digital ad campaign on 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 the demands of the striking workers are met. The council posits that some users of online sports betting and casino applications might not be aware of the ongoing strike among workers at the brick-and-mortar casinos, which possess online gambling licenses in Michigan.

The DCC is comprised of a negotiating committee consisting of five unions, which include Unite Here Local 24, the UAW, Teamsters Local 1038, Operating Engineers Local 324, and the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters.

On September 29, the DCC secured a vote from 99% of unionized workers across the casinos authorizing the negotiating committee to call for a strike. On October. 17, unionized casino workers at MGM Grand, 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.

The workers are demanding healthcare protection, wage adjustments in line with the rising cost of living, enhanced job security, and equitable workloads. It is the first casino strike in Detroit’s 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,” DCC said in a statement.

“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.