Detroit Casinos To Close For At Least Three Weeks Due To Rise In Coronavirus Cases

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Detroit’s three casinos – the MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino Hotel, and Greektown Casino-Hotel – will be closed starting Wednesday, Nov. 18 and remain shuttered for at least the next three weeks after Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered them, along with numerous other indoor public spaces, closed due a spike in coronavirus cases in the state.

The three casinos will be closed through the Thanksgiving holiday and at least until Dec. 8, according to a MLive.com report.

“We are in the worst moment of this pandemic to date,” Whitmer said at a press conference announcing the restrictions Sunday. “The situation has never been more dire. We are at the precipice and we need to take some action. As the weather gets colder and people spend more time indoors, this virus will spread. More people will get sick and there will be more fatalities.”

In addition to casinos, Whitmer’s order covers theaters, stadiums, arenas, bingo halls, arcades, bars, restaurants, and virtually all public indoor spaces where groups of people gather. 

Second time casinos are forced to close

This is the second time Detroit’s casinos have been closed due an order from Whitmer during the coronavirus pandemic. The first time was March 16, and that lasted until August 5, when the casinos were allowed to open at 15% capacity.

The state’s tribal casinos, which operate under federal law, are not subject to Whitmer’s order. At the time of this writing, no tribal casinos have announced plans to close during this second wave of the pandemic.

The city’s three casinos were finally starting to come back around, despite continued occupancy restrictions. In October, gaming revenue was  down “only” 19% year-over-year, and there was real hope the rest of FY 2020 was going to bring the casinos back to level. Those hopes are clearly dashed with Whitmer’s order.

Later this year or in early 2021, the casinos are expected to launch online gambling, which could be a lifeline for the properties.

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