Detroit Casinos To Operate at 15% Capacity Upon Reopening

Detroit Casinos To Operate at 15% Capacity Upon Reopening
By Jim Tomlin

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.

New Precaution in Wake of COVID-19

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:

  • All persons who enter the casino must wear a mask covering the nose and mouth, and they must wear it at all times unless eating or drinking
  • Casinos must provide masks to their employees and make them available to patrons
  • Anybody with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher won’t be allowed in unless they go to a screening area for further review
  • Limit capacity to 15% based on Fire Department maximums
  • All employees will receive COVID-19 training, including recognition of virus symptoms and proper use of PPE
  • Before reopening, each facility must clean and disinfect all hard and soft surface areas
  • Hand sanitizer will be made available in high-traffic areas

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.

Closures Stop Michigan Casino Momentum

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.



Jim Tomlin has more than 30 years of experience in sports journalism as an editor and writer. He has covered pro and college sports from football, baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, motorsports and more for publications such as the Tampa Bay Times,, and FanRag Sports. He now lends his expertise to, among other duties.

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