Detroit’s Greektown Casino-Hotel Lays Off 43 Employees

Detroit’s Greektown Casino-Hotel Lays Off 43 Employees
By Bryce Derouin

Just a week after MGM Detroit officially laid off 1,100 employees as part of MGM’s downsizing plan, another Detroit casino announced more layoffs.

Detroit’s Greektown Casino-Hotel announced in a statement that it’s laying off 43 workers due to revenue loss from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to The Detroit News.

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“These layoffs at Greektown Casino-Hotel are the unfortunate result of COVID-19 related business circumstances that were sudden, dramatic and beyond our control,” John Drake, vice president and general manager of Greektown Casino-Hotel, said in a letter to the state. “The impact on our business was not reasonably foreseeable until now.”

The layoffs will become effective beginning Sept. 28, according to Drake. The layoffs are permanent and the casino will remain open.

Casino Layoffs in Detroit

On Sept. 1, MGM Grand Detroit announced it would be laying off 1,100 employees, making Greektown’s announcement the second to come within a week to impact Detroit casinos. The 1,110 in Detroit who lost their jobs were part of the 18,000 furloughed workers nationwide at MGM to lose their jobs, resulting in a quarter of MGM’s employment staff being cut.

“While we have safely resumed operations at many of our properties and returned tens of thousands of our colleagues to work, our industry — and country — continues to be impacted by the pandemic, and we have not returned to full operating capacity,” Bill Hornbuckle, MGM CEO, wrote in a letter to inform employees of the layoffs.

MGM Grand Detroit employs about 2,800 people; by comparison, the 43 layoffs at Greektown are not as drastic as a cutback. Greektown employs over 2,000 people.

Restrictions at the Casinos

Detroit’s three major casinos, MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino Hotel and Greektown Casino-Hotel, reopened on Aug. 5 with capacity restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Once reopened, all three Detroit properties limited operations to 15 percent capacity, a regulation that gambling experts noted as one of the strictest in the country, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The 15 percent rule was installed through an executive order from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who previously shut down Detroit casinos on March 16. To enter the casinos, all visitors must wear masks and pass temperature checks. Smoking and vaping are no longer allowed on the gaming floor and are only allowed in designed outdoor areas.

Bars remain open, but patrons are required to sit at a table or in front of a game or slot machine to consume beverages, meaning people can't walk around with a drink in hand. Poker, valet service and self-serve buffets have also been eliminated as part of the new restrictions in place.

Prior to COVID-19, Detroit was receiving nearly $600,000 per day in taxes from the three properties, according to the Free Press.



Bryce joined after spending the last nine years covering high school and college sports throughout Michigan. He’s served as the primary Division II beat writer for Grand Valley State and Michigan Tech. Along with his newspaper background, he's worked in marketing and recently co-founded Upbeat — the Upper Peninsula of Michigan’s first subscription-based prep sports website. His favorite sports to gamble on are football, basketball, baseball and Formula 1.

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