Detroit Casinos To Boost Capacity Up To 30% On Friday

Written By Matt Schoch on March 4, 2021

The capacity limits at Detroit casinos will increase to 30% on Friday.

Greektown Casino, MGM Grand Detroit, and MotorCity Casino can boost capacity levels after operating under some of the nation’s tightest restrictions since reopening in August, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced this week.

The move was part of the loosening of COVID-19 restrictions that also included allowing up to 50% capacity at restaurants and 750 fans at indoor professional sporting events.

Masks and social distancing are still required indoors at all locations throughout the state.

Initial Detroit casinos reopening capacity was 15%

Detroit casinos operated at 15% capacity from its initial reopening in August after a nearly five-month shutdown, which began five days after the launch of sports betting in Michigan.

Whitmer ordered the casinos to close again in November when COVID-19 cases spiked in the state. They reopened just before the Christmas holiday.

Until Friday, up to 100 people could gather in each distinct space. MotorCity Casino operates at 12.5% capacity, according to President Bruce Dall.

“With this increase, we do not anticipate that our guests will experience any wait times, even on busy nights. As the health of our staff and guests remains our top priority, we will continue working with state and local health officials to provide a safe environment,” Dall said in a statement to PlayMichigan.

A representative from MGM told PlayMichigan last summer that the 15% cap put the casino at about 1,800 capacity.

In part because of the shutdowns and restrictions, the Detroit casinos had a 57.9% hit of year-over-year revenue in 2020.

MotorCity suing insurer over lack of COVID-19 coverage

One of the Detroit casinos is hoping to recoup some of the 2020 pandemic losses in court.

MotorCity Casino is suing insurance company American Guarantee and Liability Insurance Co. for breach of contract, as first reported (paywall) by The Detroit News.

American Guarantee and Liability, a subsidiary of the Swiss Zurich Insurance Group Ltd., denied a claim of more than $270 million over the closures.

In a statement provided to PlayMichigan, Dall said: “Thus far, our insurance carrier has failed to honor our business insurance claims, necessitating this action. Our hope remains for an amicable resolution.”

Photo by AP Photo/Carlos Osorio
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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 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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