In an “only in 2020” decision that will take effect as the last hours of this tough year tick away, FireKeepers Casino Hotel will be closing to the public on New Year’s Eve, instead opting for an invitation-only soiree in an effort to keep would-be revelers and employees safe from the potential of coronavirus exposure.
At 3 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, the Battle Creek-based casino and hotel will close its doors to the public-at-large. At 7 a.m. New Year’s Day, it’s back to (the new) normal for FireKeepers.
“With our occupancy constraints due to social distancing, we can’t be the place where the public goes to party this year,” Jim Wise, FireKeepers’ vice president of marketing, said in a company press release. “We will instead close to the public, avoid potential traffic nightmares and extended delays to enter the building. Our goal is to advise the public well in advance to allow them to make other New Year’s Eve plans while we focus on hosting a safe, socially distanced gathering.”
Big parties in the past
In past years, FireKeepers has had raucous New Year’s Eve affairs on the casino floor, with bands, dancing, and more. But Wise noted that due to health and safety concerns, it just didn’t seem like the prudent course of action as the casino counts down to 2021.
“This is not the year for that type of event,” Wise said. Guests will have until 4 p.m. on New Year’s Eve to exit the premises. It’s not great news for local sports bettors, but they might have a digital option by then.
FireKeepers opened its Dacey’s retail sportsbook in June, but it could have online/mobile sports wagering by the end of the year. The casino was the first tribal casino among the more than 20 in the state to kick off sports betting. In early 2020, FireKeepers announced that it had selected Las Vegas-based Scientific Games to power its sports betting, as well as other forms of online gaming to its customers in Michigan.
Michigan gambling regulators are currently working on putting the finishing touches on the process to see online gambling platforms hit cyberspace, possibly in December.