Business

Detroit's three casinos reopen with lots of Covid era changes


August 05, 2020, 1:26 PM


Forget about lighting up or pulling down a mask for any other reason on a casino floor. (Photo: MGM Grand Detroit)

Gamblers now can bet, in effect, on the odds of visiting a Detroit casino safely. All three reopened Wednesday for highly limited patronage after a Covid closure since March 16.

MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino Hotel and Greektown Casino-Hotel do temperature checks as guests, employees and vendors arrive, ban indoor smoking and allow far fewer people -- just 15% of maximum capacity. That still allows up to 1,800 gamblers on MGM's casino floor at a time.

Visitors see lots of plexiglass, sanitation stations, distance markers and traffic-flow signs. Changes also include no poker or valet parking, fewer restaurants and no food buffets. 


A downtown employee identified only as Rhonda is back at work Wednesday morning. (Photo: Greektown Casino-Hotel)

"We are in a position to probably enforce a lot of these regulations more than other industries," a top executive of the local MGM Grand tells The Detroit News. David Tsai, president and chief operating officer, adds: "We are a highly-regulated business. We're used to enforcing strict rules."

Casino executives hope "we can move beyond that [15% limit] in the not-too-distant future," the paper quotes John Drake, Greektown Casino-Hotel vice president and general manager, as saying.

The three casinos had about 6,000 employees when they shut nearly five months ago. Each has recalled 40% to 50% of their workforce so far, the Detroit Free Press says.

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Sinks with running water are a casino floor sign of the times. (Photo: MGM Grand Detroit)

The state's low attendance rule is is among the nation's strictest. Hollywood Casino Toledo reopened June 19 at 50% capacity and some tribal casinos in Michigan allow 80% capacity, according to the Freep.

MotorCity plans optimistically for a busier fall by scheduling eight artists from Sept. 30-Nov. 29 at its SoundBoard club, starting with KennyG, rescheduled from March 29. Three December shows also are listed.

Here's the status of lodging at the casinos, from the Freep:

MotorCity plans to reopen its hotel Friday. MGM Grand would follow in about a month, and Greektown is aiming for a Sept. 1 hotel reopening.

Tribal casinos, unregulated by the state, reopened June 1 and have been operating safely, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said last week.



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