Michigan leaders have not decided when to reopen the three commercial casinos in Detroit, which were generating record revenue before coronavirus concerns shut them down in March. But when the facilities open their doors again, they won’t see nearly as much of the public.
The Michigan Gaming Control Board has announced that the casinos in the state’s largest city will only be permitted to operate at 15% capacity when they reopen. No date has been announced. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer must approve any opening date as part of the state’s Safe Start Plan.
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The Greektown Casino, MGM Grand Detroit and Motorcity Casino have been closed since the middle of March amid coronavirus concerns. The same fate befell every commercial casino in the United States — but while many casinos elsewhere have reopened or at least know the dates when they will do so, Detroit’s casinos remain in a holding pattern.
The MGCB’s seven-page document, issued on its website, spells out the precautions that casinos must follow to help safeguard patrons.
Among the highlights:
Authorities in Michigan contacted their counterparts in Nevada as well as the National Indian Gaming Commission and Centers for Disease Control guidelines, MGCB Executive Director Richard S. Kalm said in a news release on Monday.
The three commercial casinos in Detroit have been a major economic engine, generating $2.2 billion in tax revenue earmarked for schools in the past 20 years.
But the closures triggered by COVID-19 have had a devastating effect on that economic impact. Through May, aggregate revenue at the three casinos is down 51.6% compared to the first five months of 2019, according to the MGCB website.
The timing was especially bad because March is typically the strongest month of the year for Detroit casino revenue.