Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is expected to sign an executive order on Wednesday allowing for the partial reopening of the three Detroit casinos that have been closed since March.
Whitmer’s executive order should appear on the web page for her 2020 orders.
Governor Whitmer to issue a big COVID-19 executive order today reimposing some restrictions Up North and allowing the three Detroit casinos to partially reopen. Details at https://t.co/s3EhKap8lp and in subscriber inboxes.
— Zach Gorchow (@ZachGorchow) July 29, 2020
Crains Detroit reported that the order is expected to allow the casinos to reopen at 15% capacity. It’s unclear what their operations will look like.
Casinos in neighboring Ohio and Indiana have reopened in recent weeks, but Michigan has played it safer amid the COVID-19 public health crisis.
Tribal casinos in the state, which operate on sovereign land, began reopening in May, and some of them now have retail sportsbooks.
According to the latest data from the American Gaming Association, 843 casinos have reopened since March and 147 still remain closed. Every casino in the country was at one point closed.
The hottest casino offering in terms of public conversation right now is sports betting, not slot machines or table games. Table games pose a greater threat to public health because of how close players sit next to each other, and that situation applies to some extent to slot machines, though reopened casinos in other states have taken extensive precautions to allow participation at both the slots and tables amid the pandemic.
Poker rooms are, of course, even more challenging.
A sportsbook is more straightforward, as customers wait in line to place bets over the counter or via a kiosk. Sportsbooks in Detroit should be reopening when the casinos themselves reopen, though there’s no official word on that right now.
Detroit had legal sports betting for just a handful of days prior to March Madness before the pandemic hit and the properties were closed.
Last week, Major League Baseball kicked off its abbreviated 60-game season, and while the Detroit Tigers are a poor team this year, the Detroit casinos are surely looking to begin taking bets on the games. Online/mobile sports betting is expected to begin later this year or in early 2021, and the retail betting resuming months ahead of that is a welcomed development for the books as they try to acquire customers.
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