International edition
September 21, 2021

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer lifted restrictions for casinos after more than a month

MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity casinos set to reopen Wednesday

MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity casinos set to reopen Wednesday
MotorCity Casino Hotel will open at 1 p.m. Wednesday, while MGM Grand Detroit will follow suit at 5 p.m. on the same day.
United States | 12/21/2020

Whitmer announced new guidelines Friday that allow casinos to operate with total capacity capped at 100 people within any distinct space within the venue, food and drink concessions closed and social distancing requirements in place. Greektown Casino said it will open "soon." The state's order lasts until January 15.

T

wo Detroit casinos plan to reopen this week after being shut down for more than a month due to an uptick in coronavirus cases in the state of Michigan. 

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and state officials on Friday lifted restrictions for casinos to reopen with a limited capacity starting Monday following a shutdown that began in mid-November, The Detroit News reports. MotorCity Casino Hotel and MGM Grand Detroit will reopen Wednesday, according to officials of the properties. Greektown Casino tweeted Sunday to "check back for an official date" of reopening.

Casinos have been hit hard during the pandemic, costing the city of Detroit millions in tax revenue. Table games and slots revenue at the three Detroit casinos declined 55% compared with results from January through November 2019, according to the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

Per the new guidelines imposed by Gov. Whitmer and state officials, casinos are allowed to operate with total capacity capped at 100 people, food and drink concessions closed and social distancing requirements in place, according to a Friday news release by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. The state's order lasts until January 15.

An MGM Grand spokeswoman on Sunday explained the casino is allowed to have 100 people in "each space." The state's epidemic order apart from the news release said: "For all venues, no more than 100 persons may be gathered within any distinct space within the venue, except at stadiums and arenas hosting sporting events as provided in section 6, in which case up to 250 persons may be gathered."

MGM Grand Detroit will reopen at 5 p.m. Wednesday. More than 1,500 slots and video poker machines will be immediately available, along with the BetMGM Sportsbook. Table games will open at 8 a.m. Saturday. "Our team is prepared to welcome back just as many guests on our casino floor as we had prior to our closing in November, socially distanced across our 150,000+ sq. ft. casino floor," said David Tsai, president of Midwest Group, MGM Resorts International, in a statement.

MotorCity Casino Hotel will open at 1 p.m. Wednesday. Returning employees will be COVID-19 tested. The property will continue to enforce mandatory mask-wearing; social distancing by shutting down slot machines, removing seating at table games and using plexiglass barriers. All customers and staff will have their temperatures checked. Smoking is not allowed. 

Greektown wrote on Twitter: "As we prepare for our reopening, we ask that you remain patient while we continue to work with the Michigan Gaming Control Board, public health officials, state and local leaders. We look forward to opening a safe gaming environment for you soon."

The three Detroit casinos reported $50.4 million in monthly aggregate revenue last month while operating at 15% capacity due to COVID-19 health concerns, per the Michigan Gaming Control Board. The reported revenue represented a 61.3% drop from November 2019. 

The city's casinos generate about $600,000 in tax revenues for the city per day. The three Detroit casinos paid $5.7 million in wagering taxes and development agreement payments to the city in November. In comparison, the casinos paid $19.7 million in wagering taxes and development agreement payments to the city during November 2019.

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