Detroit casinos prepare to reopen after shutdown

Kalea Hall

| The Detroit News

Detroit — Detroit casinos plan to reopen next week after being shut down for more than a month as the state battled an uptick in coronavirus cases.

MotorCity Casino Hotel and MGM Grand Detroit will reopen Wednesday, according to officials venues. 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 the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and state officials last week lifted restrictions for casinos to reopen with a 100-person capacity starting Monday following a shutdown that began in mid-November. Bowling centers and movie theaters also are permitted to reopen with capacity capped at 100, food and drink concessions closed and social distancing requirements in place. The state’s order lasts until Jan. 15.

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.

MotorCity Casino 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.”

A representative for the casino could not be reached for comment Sunday evening.

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, 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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Twitter: @bykaleahall

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