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Billionaire Gilbert Says “No” to Casino Business in Detroit

The casino business is changing. We have reported on numerous openings and consolidation-moves these last few weeks. Now, an investor is thinking twice before perpetuating any investments he may make in future. It’s official, Dan Gilbert, the billionaire entrepreneur, is sounding a retreat, especially after the recent doldrums Detroit has found itself into.

A Revival That Nobody Cares About

Despite the improving economic prospects of Detroit, Dan Gilbert seems rather pessimistic. Nobody can blame him, given the recent tumultuous past of the city. According to a Bloomberg report, the billionaire is selling his casino business, including the Greektown Casino-Hotel. It appears to be an end of an era for Gilbert, who is moving onto other investment.

Even though the news is already in the open, no official confirmation has come from Jack Entertainment LLC, the Gilbert-owned company. According to the entity, it’s not the custom of the company to comment on statements that have been released in the media via anonymous sources and therefore interested parties should await an official statement from the company itself.

“It is Jack Entertainment’s long-standing policy to not comment on rumors or speculation,” the statement said.

Even if Gilbert is moving out of casinos at a time when the online segment is starting to gain traction, it’s unlikely for any potential investor to just cease operating the property. To repurpose a developed casino would be a rather wasteful activity. Of course, Detroit’s recent economic slump is definitely not the city’s most attractive feature, especially for any potential investor.

However, there have been those who have signalled their readiness to fight for the future of the city and they may as well very much do. In an interview with Crain’s Detroit, John Hill, who is one of the builders of Detroit’s economic turnaround, has shed much light on the turning prospects of the city.

Apart from the casino being a well-developed property, it’s precisely because Detroit is struggling so much right now that the rustbelt city needs its casinos to function at full roar, as it’s the source of jobs.

Gilbert Me This, Then

So, what are the exact reasons behind Gilbert’s decision to bail on a city that is seemingly back on its feet, even if it’s a bit rickety indeed. However, Gilbert may be passing up on something remarkably good. The wave of acquisition & consolidation in the gambling sector has been strong.

It’s been even stronger since the U.S. Supreme Court’s legalization of sports wagering in May has boosted the prospects for everyone involved, particularly casinos.

Now, there is no need to beat around the bush. It’s painfully evident that casinos stand to benefit a great deal from the legalization of sports betting, as they could use it as a driver of further growth to their own operations.

Not least of all, they can also benefit from the milder climate to lump together different online gaming activities and offer them to potential customers in a non-intrusive way. The industry is growing and everyone is eager to get a piece. Why is then Gilbert leaving?

Rachael Price

Rachael is a veteran gaming journalist with over 9 years of writing experience but has only just started within the gambling industry. She has built a keen interest within the iGaming sector over the years from exposure at events.