The Greektown Casino Hotel and MotorCity Casino in Detroit both said they will reopen Aug. 5, the earliest possible date allowed under an executive order signed by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer late Wednesday. Representatives from the city’s third casino, MGM Grand Detroit, told MiBets.com that the establishment would “announce their reopening date soon.”
“We are thrilled to announce that we expect to reopen Greektown Casino Hotel on Wednesday, Aug. 5,” said John Drake, Greektown’s vice president and general manager. “We have been working closely with the Michigan Gaming Control Board, state and local leaders, and public health officials to finalize comprehensive reopening protocols and new health and safety precautions. We look forward to sharing details of our property-specific procedures in advance of reopening and welcoming back team members and our customers.”
Detroit’s three casinos have been closed since March 16, when Whitmer ordered them to shut down operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Wednesday’s executive order permits casinos and racetracks licensed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board to reopen beginning at 10 a.m. Aug. 5, with the casinos required to operate at 15% capacity and following safety guidelines outlined in a second order signed by the governor yesterday.
“I am taking the occasion, too, to allow for the reopening of the Detroit casinos, subject to a 15% capacity limit and strict workplace safeguards,” Whitmer’s executive order read. “Casinos have been operating safely across most of the country and in tribal areas in Michigan and should be able to do so in the Detroit region as well.”
Michigan’s 23 tribal casinos, which operate on sovereign land and are not subject to Michigan state jurisdiction, began reopening in late May and have so far prevented mass spread of the novel coronavirus by limiting capacity, by requiring guests to wear masks and undergo mandatory temperature checks upon entry, and by restricting access to food courts, self-serve drink stations, and buffets, among other measures.
The imminent reopening of the city’s casinos and their sportsbooks will increase access to sports gambling in Southeast Michigan, the state’s most populous region. Since tribal casinos reopened, sports bettors in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb Counties would have had to travel at least 100 miles to visit one of the three tribal casinos in the state that currently offer retail sports betting. Mobile sports gambling, which would allow bettors to gamble from anywhere in the state, is expected to debut in Michigan later this year or in early 2021.