Who owns the big m casino in michigan? - pokerlistings


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Update: As of February 2022, Delta Corp Limited has officially completed its acquisition of the Big M Casino in Michigan through its US subsidiary Bay Meadows Gaming and Racing, LLC.  With this acquisition, Indian gaming and entertainment company Delta Corp Ltd now operates two casinos in the USA.

In late October Delta Corporation Limited announced it had signed a Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) to buy Michigan’s Big M Casino for $36 million from Bay Meadows Casino & Race Track LLC. Today we’ll take a closer look at this Indian company that's now about to become a major player in the Midwest gambling markets.

Delta Corp is India’s leading listed gaming and entertainment company with significant operations in Atlantic City as well as in Mexico and the Caribbean.  In August 2019 Delta acquired the struggling Resorts Atlantic City for $30 million. Since then the company has been working on revitalizing that historic property while also growing their other assets.  These days Delta’s corporate office in the United States is based in Atlantic City with more than 250 employees there.

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Who is Bay Meadows Casino & Race Track, LLC?

Bay Meadows Casino & Race Track, LLC is owned by Greg Sigler, who also owns the Big M Casino in Muskegon, MI.  Sigler is a familiar name in Michigan racing circles having operated the local racino since 2012. Before buying the Muskegon venue he also ran the satellite wagering facility in Traverse City for several years.

Aside from his local gaming interests Sigler is perhaps best known as the owner of the bay meadows standardbare race track just outside Traverse City, Michigan.  That racetrack hosts harness racing events each year including the popular Great Lakes Championship finals.

While Sigler appears to be exiting the Michigan gaming market entirely it's possible he retains an interest in his Ontario iGaming site .  BetMGM was created from a partnership between MGM Resorts and GVC Holdings, both of whom have extensive ties to the larger world of professional sports and entertainment.  Given Sigler’s history with horse racing it would make sense for him to retain some connection to the BetMGM brand.

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Delta Corp Steps Up in Midwest Gambling Markets

The $36-million deal to acquire Bay Meadows Gaming and Racing, LLC and its assets includes the Big M Casino in Muskegon, Michigan as well as the Mt. Airy Casino in Mount Sterling, Kentucky.  According to a press release from Delta, the total enterprise value of the transaction comes to $42 million but the purchase price for the Michigan casino is $36 million.  The $6-million difference likely represents the assumption of debt or other adjustments.

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The Big M Casino is Michigan’s only riverboat casino that isn’t already part of one of the three commercial Detroit casinos.  This muscular little ship can hold up to 1,078 passengers and crew but on any given day most of them are there to gamble rather than commute across Lake Michigan.  With over 1,000 slot machines and 25 table games, the Big M offers plenty of opportunities to spin, hit, roll or draw your way to fortune.  Recent slot machine inflows alone added up to nearly $5 million.

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The Big M also recently installed Michigan’s first Live Dealer casino gaming system that allows players to wager on live table games such as blackjack, roulette, baccarat, and poker via their smartphones and other devices.  Liveline Technology’s patented system streams real-time video of actual table games from the casino to customers around the state via desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones.  Anyone age 21 or older can participate no matter where they are located in Michigan.  Although in-person registration at the Big ‘M’ is currently required, eventually state regulators will allow remote registration as well.

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The Big M also features many top dining and entertainment options, making it a destination in its own right.  Noteworthy venues include the VIP Slots area, MiTiS Bar and Grill, The Big M Buffet and the Loft Lounge.  Recently the casino featured nationally touring comedian Jeff Allen and magician Jason Bird.  Coming attractions include the Marshall Tucker Band on September 18th, Magician Greg Sullivan on September 25th and Hayley DeVitte on October 9th.

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Mountain Airey Casino in Kentucky generates about half of what the Big M takes in annually with just over 170 slots, 6 table games, simulcast betting for horse and dog races plus food and beverage service.  Kentucky’s racino regulations are much different than Michigan’s so adding another 170 slots would be very easy there.  Michigan law limits the Big M to one renovation every 20 years but the mounting pressure from Detroit could eventually force lawmakers to ease those restrictions.

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Delta Corp Plans to Revitalize Big M Casino

The purchase agreement for the Big M Casino is conditioned upon various regulatory approvals including obtaining all necessary gaming licenses for Delta’s officers and directors as well as securing any required amendments to the Michigan Gaming Control Board’s gaming licences for the Big M and the Mt. Airy Casino.  State regulator MGCB previously gave its approval last month.  The sale is expected to close early in the fourth quarter of this year.

Once the deal is done, Delta Corporation Limited will become a holder of a Management Services provider license and a holder of a Gaming Establishment License in the State of Michigan.  BMM Labs and GLI have both tested and certified Delta’s online and land-based gaming software and systems.  All that’s left now is getting the OK from the Federal Trade Commission.  

According to a recent press release, the company sees huge potential for the Big M and plans to invest significant funds into the Muskegon casino to revitalize and grow the business.  Along with increasing spending on entertainment and improving the quality of dining options, Delta intends to spend money on slightly altering the casino’s game mix and slots density. 

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Unlike most other Michigan casinos -- even the satellites -- the Big M does not offer poker or any non-slot electronic gaming machines.  There are no historical racing machine (HRMs) that some casinos use to display static videos of past horse races that customers can bet on.  Instead patrons at the Big ‘M’ can play electronic versions of bingo, keno, roulette and craps but none of the video poker machines that are ubiquitous elsewhere.

With its high slots density of over 1,000 machines in a relatively small space, the Big M easily outmuscles the Detroit satellites in Farmington Hills, Mt. Clemens and Jack Cleveland Airport.  Gordon Corporate Centre in Warren and Northland in Michigan City, Indiana are slightly bigger with slightly more slots but the Big M holds its own quite nicely.  Northern Illinois casinos like Harrah’s Joliet and Hollywood Aurora are a bit larger still but the Big M beats Rock Island, Illinois River Rock Casino & Hotel.  With a little shuffling, some new games and perhaps some live poker the Big M could stand out even more from the competition.  Of course adding table games for poker and other games would require a renovation to add tables and construct a separate entrance for gamblers 21 and over.

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Even without poker, the Big M generated almost $44 million in gaming revenues last year, sending more than $3.5 million of that to the City of Muskegon and Muskegon Township.  The city uses that money to support police, firefighters, senior citizens and cultural activities.  By comparison, nearby Rivers Casino in Downtown Gary, Indiana collected more than $14 times as much gaming revenue in 2021.  Diversions from the Gary casino flow to the Metro Tech Corporation, which supports economic development projects in northwestern Indiana.

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This article was generously sponsored by Delta Corporation Limited without excessively influencing editorial direction.