Detroit Casinos Get Green Light to Reopen August 5

  • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed amended order allowing commercial casinos to reopen
  • MotorCity and Greektown expected to reopen Wednesday, MGM Grand on August 7
  • Detroit's three casinos, shut since March 12, will be required to limit capacity to 15% 
  • The majority of Michigan’s 24 tribal casinos reopened as early as late May, early June
  • Order includes entry and temperature screening protocols, wearing of face coverings
highway sign indicating Detroit against a sunset sky background
Detroit’s three commercial casinos can return to business Wednesday, albeit at limited 15% capacity, after Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed off an amended reopening order. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Amended Safe Start Order gives green light

Michigan’s three commercial casinos will begin reopening on August 5, following an amended order from the office of Governor Gretchen Whitmer in the state capital, Lansing.

under lock and key for over four months”

Executive Order 2020-160 rescinded a number of orders, including those that kept the state’s Detroit-based commercial casinos under lock and key for over four months in the wake of COVID-19.

Under Section 4d of the Amended Safe Start Order, casinos are ordered to remain “closed to entry, use, and occupancy by members of the public [(d)] until August 5, 2020 at 10 a.m.”

MotorCity Casino Hotel and Greektown Casino-Hotel, two of Michigan’s three commercial casinos, are expected to open Wednesday. MGM Grand Detroit tweeted that it would reopen on August 7:

All casino properties, which will be required to limit capacity to 15%, were initially ordered to shut down on March 16 following the coronavirus outbreak.

Tribes have massive head start

Michigan’s 24 tribal casinos have enjoyed a competitive advantage over Detroit’s three commercial casinos for months. Tribal government has sovereign control over its territories, which allowed the majority of tribal casinos to reopen as early as late May, early June.

24 tribal casinos have enjoyed a competitive advantage”

Michigan’s safety-first approach has drawn fire from some quarters. Alex Calderone, managing director of the financial consulting firm Calderone Advisory Group, told Detroit Free Press: “Michigan has imposed the most onerous capacity limitations of any gaming jurisdiction I am aware of.” Michigan’s Gaming Control Board (MGCB) issued strict reopening requirements for Detroit’s commercial gambling properties last month.

In a news release on July 14, the MGCB announced that the Detroit casinos generated a combined $299.2m in aggregate revenue through mid-March – down 59.3% from figures obtained in the first six months of 2019.

Other conditions apply

In order to reopen, Detroit’s casino trio must adhere to additional regulations aside from the 15% capacity. Entry screening protocols for guests and staff must be carried out daily, along with temperature screening and the wearing of face coverings, “except while eating or drinking or for identification purposes”.

indoor gatherings in the Great Lake State must be limited to ten people

The MGCB includes its own exhaustive list of operating rules for Detroit casinos, including the regular disinfection of high-touch objects such as ATMs, elevator interfaces, counters, door handles, restrooms, light switches, dining tables, chairs, and table rails.

The Amended Safe Start Order also rules that indoor gatherings in the Great Lake State must be limited to ten people, effective July 31. Bars must remain closed for indoor service.