Masks Still Required, But Detroit Casinos Should Be At Full Capacity By July 1

Written By Matt Schoch on May 20, 2021 - Last Updated on May 24, 2021

Detroit casinos will be able to operate at full capacity by July 1, according to plans announced Thursday by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Speaking at Dow Diamond in mid-Michigan’s Midland, the governor said indoor capacity restrictions will be lifted July 1 after outdoor bans expire June 1.

Although nothing specifically has been announced by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, that timeline should do away with the current 30% capacity restrictions placed on Greektown Casino, MGM Grand Detroit and MotorCity Casino.

As of Thursday, the casinos have not yet announced the lifting of mask restrictions. This situation comes despite the MGCB revising its order on Saturday, lifting the mask requirement for vaccinated individuals.

That move came after U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated last week that vaccinated individuals can resume normal activities without wearing a mask indoors.

Detroit casinos still require masks, for now

Despite the change in order, none of Michigan’s three casinos have updated their mask policy.

A few tribal casinos no longer require masks, including:

  • FireKeepers Casino, Battle Creek
  • Four Winds Casinos, Dowagiac, Hartford and New Buffalo
  • Leelanau Sands, Peshawbestown
  • Little River Casino, Manistee
  • Odawa Casinos, Petoskey and Mackinaw City
  • Saganing Eagles Landing, Standish
  • Soaring Eagle, Mount Pleasant
  • Turtle Creek, Williamsburg

Ojibwa Casinos in Baraga and Marquette, along with Island Resort Casino in Harris, allow you to take your mask off if you’re seated at a slot machine.

Detroit casinos have had restrictions for more than a year

The Detroit casinos all closed on March 16, 2020, five days after retail sports betting launched in the city.

After nearly five months of closure, the trio reopened in August, only to be closed again in November for nearly six more weeks. The casinos have been reopened since the second reopening.

The state’s original restrictions were for 15% maximum capacity but have since been changed to 30%.

Customers have been masked throughout the year, and indoor smoking areas have been closed.

AGA: Detroit fell to 10th in casino markets in 2020

The American Gaming Association released its annual State of the States 2021 report on Thursday, detailing the year in casino gaming.

As expected, 2020 was a rough one for the sector, as industry revenue dropped 31.3% nationally to $30.0 billion.

Locally, with tougher restrictions based in part by Michigan being harder-hit than most throughout the pandemic, the economic impact was staggering.

The Detroit market fell from No. 6 to No. 10 in revenue, bringing in $620.4 million.

Detroit was passed on the list by Mississippi’s Gulf Coast (from No. 8 to No. 5), Philadelphia (from No. 7 to No. 6), St. Louis (from No. 9 to No. 7), and Nevada’s Boulder Strip (from No. 12 to No. 9).

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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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