Despite being allowed to reopen as of midnight Monday morning, Detroit’s three casinos remain closed on this first day of winter, with two of the three casinos announcing they will wait to open until Wednesday.
The MotorCity Casino Hotel will reopen to the public at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 23, followed four hours later by the MGM Grand Detroit, both in time to take opening-night Pistons bets at their respective sportsbooks.
Greektown Casino-Hotel, however, has not yet set a date as to when it will reopen.
“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,” the Greektown Twitter account posted Sunday. “We look forward to opening a safe gaming environment for you soon. Check back for [the] official date.”
Closed since November
The trio of casinos were closed on Nov. 18 by order of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. The casinos, along with most indoor public activity, were paused by the governor in an effort to help stem the tide of the second coronavirus wave.
Last week, Whitmer announced an easing of restrictions, with casinos allowed to reopen, but at vastly reduced capacity — no more than 100 members of the public allowed on the casino floor at any one time — and a continued ban on eating and drinking.
Join us live in Lansing! https://t.co/Odbg452AgR
— Governor Gretchen Whitmer (@GovWhitmer) December 18, 2020
“These past few weeks, Michiganders across the state stepped up and did their part to slow the spread of COVID-19, and because of our collective hard work, we are now able to begin the steps to carefully lift some of the protocols we have in place,” Whitmer said in a statement. “I am encouraged by the progress we have made since early November, and will continue to monitor the data closely during and after the holidays.”
Online wagering a few weeks away
The casinos reopening — along with their sportsbooks — is happening as the Michigan Gaming Control Board readies the launch of online sports betting and online casinos in the Wolverine State. The MGCB expects the first online sportsbooks and casinos to launch in mid-January. Obviously, the ability to take bets online will be a huge relief to the city’s casinos and sportsbooks, which have been ravaged by closures in 2020.
In November, the three casinos saw their revenue numbers fall by over 60% compared to last November. Clearly, the main reason for the drop was due to the fact the casinos were forced to close mid-month. Also not helping was the 15% maximum occupancy rate the casinos were forced to deal with.
This was the second time the casinos were closed this year; the first time happened on March 16, and they weren’t allowed to open again until early August.
All the while, the MGCB had been working with both the legislature and gaming operators to bring online gaming to the state. The bill allowing online action passed last December, but the road to opening the online versions of the sportsbooks and casinos has been both long and winding. Finally, though, the end is in sight.
“The MGCB continues to work closely with the operators and platform providers to ensure they have a clear understanding of the status of their submissions and what remains outstanding,” Mary Kay Bean, the spokesperson for the MGCB, told MI Bets last week. “The agency also continues to issue additional vendor registrations and provisional licenses to other suppliers involved in online gaming and sports betting.”
The MGCB is going through the licensing requirements with all the sportsbooks and casinos and has issued and approved provisional licenses for 15 different platform providers supporting the commercial and tribal casinos’ sportsbooks and casinos.