All But One Michigan Tribal Casino Is Reopened, Detroit Casinos Still Wait

Written By Matt Schoch on July 2, 2020

There was hope that Detroit’s three casinos would be open for the Fourth of July weekend.

But while Greektown Casino-Hotel, MGM Grand Detroit and MotorCity Casino will remain closed through the holiday, tribal casinos across the state are nearly all reopened.

Twenty-two of the state’s 23 Native American gaming facilities are now open, with Kings Club Casino in Brimley being the only holdout.

The Upper Peninsula casino remains closed over concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, a representative told Playinmichigan.

The Bay Mills Indian Community’s sister facility is open just down the road. Just over two miles from Kings Club, Bay Mills Resort & Casino reopened on June 12.

Gov. Whitmer pushed Michigan reopening backward

Until this week, Michigan was moving toward reopening the state throughout the month of June.

Then, on Wednesday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer closed indoor bars throughout much of the Lower Peninsula, including Detroit.

Coronavirus counts throughout the state have ticked up a bit after steadily falling for weeks.

In addition, highly scrutinized indoor gatherings at college bars in East Lansing have contributed to a mass spread.

Two Ojibwa Casinos reopened this week

The final tribal holdovers to reopen, other than Kings Club, were a pair of Keweenaw Bay Indian Community casinos in the western Upper Peninsula.

However, the tribe reopened the Ojibwa Casinos in Baraga on Monday and Marquette on Wednesday.

Tribal casinos across the state have continued to loosen restrictions this month.

Northern Waters Casino Resort in Watersmeet is reopening blackjack tables at 4 p.m. on Friday. They will allow three players maximum per table and require masks.

MGM Grand Detroit will require masks

Patrons must wear a mask inside when MGM Grand Detroit reopens.

That protocol came down from the casino’s parent company, MGM Resorts International.

Patrons will also have to wear masks across the Detroit River at Caesars Windsor, thanks to a corporate mandate. The US-Canada border remains closed for non-essential travelers, so there is no reopening date set for that casino either.

Greektown and MotorCity have not yet announced a mask requirement, and the Michigan Gaming Control Board did not include one in their reopening guidelines.

State continues losing money with casinos closed

Playinmichigan estimated public coffers were out about $100 million with casinos closed throughout the state. The estimate did not account for lost revenue from tribes when their casinos were closed.

City officials released an estimate that Detroit loses $600,000 of tax revenue each day the commercial casinos are closed.

Detroit’s casinos have been closed since March 16, five days after the launch of Michigan sports betting.

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Matt Schoch

A Michigan native, Matt has worked at newspapers in Michigan, Missouri and the Virgin Islands. A versatile sports reporter, Matt has covered sailing on the Great Lakes, cricket in the Caribbean, high school and pro playoffs, and the Olympics in Rio. He’s also the former host of the Locked On Pistons Podcast and producer of a documentary on Emoni Bates. A former blackjack dealer, Matt has studied the industry from all sides.

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