Detroit Casinos Closed Until May After Whitmer’s Latest Executive Order

Posted on April 9, 2020 - Last Updated on October 23, 2020

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer extended the Michigan stay-at-home order through April 30 on Thursday, meaning there will be an entire month of Detroit casinos closed.

Detroit’s Greektown Casino-Hotel, MGM Grand Detroit and MotorCity Casino will remain closed as part of the executive order to combat the spread of COVID-19.

The announcement extends Whitmer’s previous order, which was set to expire on Monday.

“We must continue to do everything we can to slow the spread and protect our families,” Whitmer said.

Though Michigan’s 23 tribal casinos are not subject to Whitmer’s order, all of them are closed, with many of them planning to be shut down for the foreseeable future.

Detroit casino revenue slowed

The Detroit casinos closed on March 16, resulting in a slowdown of revenue.

When the Michigan Gaming Control Board announced its first-quarter aggregate revenue this week, Detroit’s casinos’ numbers were down 18.5% in 2020. Those numbers included a 59.1% drop in March compared to 2019 when it was business as usual.

This, despite an uptick in revenue expected from the opening of Michigan sports betting in the Detroit casinos fast-tracked to open by the NCAA Tournament in college basketball.

The openings were on time, but COVID-19 changed the plans.

Michigan COVID-19 cases dipping

Michigan topped 1,000 deaths from the novel coronavirus on Thursday after passing the 20,000-case milestone on Wednesday.

After Thursday’s count of 117 deaths and 1,158 new cases, Michigan was at 1,076 deaths and 21,504 cases. Those numbers are both third-most in the country, behind New York and New Jersey.

There are positives in the grim details, though, as Wednesday’s 1,376 reported new cases representing an eight-day low with Thursday’s total even lower than that.

Michigan tribal casinos closed

Though they are not under Whitmer’s order, Michigan’s tribal casinos have been closed since March 22.

Many proposed short closures of one week or 10 days, but reopening dates have been pushed back as the crisis continues.

For instance, the Upper Peninsula’s pair of Ojibwa Casinos and five Kewadin Casinos will be closed until the end of April, according to recent announcements.

COVID-19 impact on Michigan casinos

The shutdowns have also spurred a push to get online casinos up and running faster than the estimated early 2021 date.

Allen Kerridge, the interim CEO of the five Kewadin locations, told PlayMichigan on Thursday that distancing measures could change the map of casino floors.

“It creates a mechanism for us to think about maybe how our floors look and how we should be setting them up,” Kerridge said. “Obviously moving forward, I’m sure not just us, many properties will take a look at what their layout is like.”

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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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