Michigan Tribal Casino To Reopen With One-Armed Bandits On Wednesday

A tribal casino in Michigan's Upper Peninsula will be one of the first in the country to turn back on its slot machines amid the pandemic.
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Update: The casino on Wednesday moved back its reopening to May 16, citing “unforeseen circumstances.”

A tribal casino in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula will reopen on Wednesday, the casino said on Facebook.

Slot machines and bingo will be available for play on Wednesday at the Island Resort and Casino, with some food options as well. The casino doesn’t have a date yet for when it will resume table games, including poker. The property plans to reopen the hotel on May 13.

Island Resort and Casino will be the second casino in the country to reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to tracking from the American Gaming Association. Michigan’s commercial casinos in Detroit remained closed under a state order.

Tribal casinos within Michigan borders are on sovereign land and are regulated by the federal government, though they do have revenue sharing with the Wolverine State. According to a report from wbckfm.com, the Michigan Gaming Control Board is “opposed” to the casino reopening this week.

The casino is owned and operated by the Hannahville Indian Community.

On Facebook, the casino’s announcement was met with a mixed reaction, with some praising the decision and others saying it’s too soon and that they would wait to visit the casino. As of Monday, there were more than 4,000 known deaths from the virus in the state.

Michigan legalized online gambling in late 2019, and regulators are currently working on allowing both tribal and commercial casinos to launch the games.

Safety precautions

According to the casino’s safety guidelines, the entrances to the casino will be staffed with employees taking temperatures of guests with an “infrared thermometer not requiring personal contact.” Anyone with a temperature above 100.0 “without exception will not be admitted.”

The casino has “encouraged” guests and employees to wear a face mask, but it is not required. The casino is providing masks on-site. It’s unclear how many masks it has.

Additionally, plexiglass barriers “have been placed between staff and guests where possible” and hand sanitizer will be widely available.

The casino plans to frequently clean machines and other surfaces as well.

Guests are also encouraged to stay six feet apart, but it’s also not required.

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