Striking Detroit casino workers call for online gambling boycott

Detroit sign
Image: Shutterstock

The casino workers strike in Detroit is expanding into the online space as the Detroit Casino Council urged players in Michigan to boycott online casino and sports betting platforms in solidarity with its members. 

Workers at the three casinos in Detroit have been striking for a month after failing to agree terms on a new contract with the operators. In an escalation of the dispute, workers will encourage online players not to use any operators affiliated with the three properties as the strike continues.

A digital ad campaign targeting online casino and sports bettors has urged people to stay off FanDuel, ESPN BET, Hollywood iCasino, and BetMGM while the strike is in place. 

“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.”

Workers walked out of their jobs on Oct. 17 after the operators failed to meet their demands in negotiations for new contracts. The union states that it is seeking inflation-matching 20% pay rises and fairer working conditions after “sacrificing raises and shouldering heavier workloads so the industry could recover from the pandemic”. 

Although MGM had reached a deal with unionized workers in Las Vegas last week, a resolution does not appear to be on the table in Detroit, leading to this escalation. 

While certain operators that are affiliated with the three casinos in Detroit are part of the boycott, the union noted that other betting and casino apps can still be used during the strike. These include Caesars Sportsbook, Caesars Palace Online Casino, WynnBET, DraftKings, and Sports Illustrated Sportsbook.

The Detroit Casino Council has gained the support of the Detroit City Council in the dispute, as council President Mary Sheffield called on operators to reach a fair resolution for working people.