Detroit casino workers call for boycott of online betting & gaming platforms

Detroit casino workers are to launch a digital advertising campaign that will call on players to boycott four online casino and sports betting platforms.

These are associated with three land-based gaming establishments, namely MotorCity Casino, Hollywood Casino at Greektown, and MGM Grand Detroit, that witnessed employee walkouts last month.

Those digital entities affected by the move are FanDuel, BetMGM, Hollywood iCasino and the soon-to-be-launched ESPN BET.

Other apps, such as Caesars Sportsbook, Caesars Palace, WynnBET, DraftKings, Sports Illustrated Sportsbook, and others, are not part of the boycott.

“Some users of online sports betting and casino apps may be unaware that workers at the brick-and-mortar casinos that hold online gambling licences in Michigan are on strike,” a media update confirming the move noted.

The campaign will launch today (Monday 13 November), and will aim to inform users of ongoing labour disputes, in addition to encouraging them not to use the apps until Detroit’s casino industry “offers their workers fair wages and benefits”.

“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.”

On October 17, approximately 3,700 workers at the aforementioned venues elected to strike in a bid 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.

The first casino strike in Detroit history includes dealers, cleaning staff, food and beverage workers, valets, engineers, and more

According to a Detroit City Council report, each day of a strike could put approximately $738,000 in city ($452,000) and state ($286,000) tax revenues and $3.4m in casino operator revenues at risk. 

Employees have pointed to sacrificing wages and taking on heavier workloads to ensure that the industry could recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, the union noted that Detroit casino workers have received three per cent raises, while inflation surged 20 per cent.

Last week, MGM Resorts, Caesars and Wynn Resorts struck tentative agreements with Las Vegas’ Culinary and Bartenders Unions that would’ve seen 35,000 workers from 18 casinos take to the streets in what was billed as potential being the “largest hospitality worker strike in US history”.