U.P.’s luck is changing, kind of

Michigan State Roundup

Published May 1, 2009  | May 2009 issue

Michigan State Roundup | fedgazette May 2009 | Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

In tough times, some people still put their hopes in the one-armed bandit. At least that appears to be the case for the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa, which announced early this year that 2008 profits among its five casinos in the Upper Peninsula rose 2.5 percent, to $31 million, over a year earlier, despite unemployment that is among the nation's highest in both the U.P. and lower Michigan.

The success of U.P. casinos looks even better in light of the fact that the tribe's Greektown Casino in Detroit saw revenues fall more than 7 percent and went into bankruptcy last year. Casino revenues also fell nationwide, including a decline of 10 percent in Nevada, according to industry sources.

The U.P. casinos also saw overall revenues fall last year by 4 percent, but managed to earn higher profits through tighter budget control, as well as some layoffs. Through the first two months of this year, casino revenues were roughly in line with last year, tribal officials said.

Ronald A. Wirtz