Detroit Casinos Limited, But Still Open During Workers’ Strike

Written By Drew Ellis on October 17, 2023 - Last Updated on October 24, 2023
photo of closed portion at MGM Grand Detroit for story on what is and isn't open during Detroit casino workers' strike

All three Detroit casinos are open and attempting to operate to the fullest extent possible despite experiencing their first workers’ strike in history.

A collection of five unions representing 3,700 employees went on strike Tuesday afternoon.

PlayMichigan visited all three casinos shortly after workers hit the picket lines.


All three Detroit casinos are open during the strike

All three of the casinos in downtown Detroit remained open following the beginning of the strike on Tuesday at noon.

While each of the three – MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino and Hollywood Casino at Greektown – will now be limited in staffing, they have their casino floors open.

“We intend to continue to operate our business during any potential strike and will remain open this week and beyond,” Matt Buckley, President & COO of Midwest Group, representing MGM Grand Detroit, said in a statement.

The same sentiments were echoed by PENN Entertainment, owners of Hollywood Casino at Greektown.

“We are disappointed by the decision of the Detroit Casino Council as we have made generous, progressive settlement offers that position our team members and business for sustainable success,” Jeff Morris, Vice President of Public Affairs for PENN Entertainment, said in a statement. “We will remain open for business to serve our customers and are committed to continued good-faith bargaining with the Detroit Casino Council to resolve the issues at hand as soon as possible.”

The worker strike did impact just what was available to the consumers in regard to all available gaming options, food services and valet parking.

What do the Detroit casinos offer during the strike?

Here’s what PlayMichigan saw inside each location on Tuesday after the strike began.

*It should be noted that the casinos could adjust what’s available as the strike continues. This is just what was available as of Tuesday afternoon.

MGM Grand Detroit

The MGM Grand Detroit still offered a wide variety of slot games throughout the casino floor. However, there was a large section that had banks of slots turned off or in “service mode,” that were unavailable to play.

Those slots were located near the poker room, which also was closed off with a sign saying “this outlet is currently closed.”

Table games were also limited, with not as many dealers available.

Select food stations were closed or unavailable as well, as was VIP parking.

BetMGM Sportsbook was not taking in-person bets, but customers were able to use betting kiosks to place their wagers.

MotorCity Casino

MotorCity Casino had the most noticeable adjustment, as their entire first floor was closed off to the public. All players were directed to the second floor for their gaming.

The first floor of MotorCity Casino is where the poker room is located and is also where rewards members go to claim their promotional prizes.

Many confused patrons were directed by available staff to claim their promotions at the Radio Bar on the second floor.

The second floor did provide plenty of slots and table game options for those seeking to visit.

However, FanDuel Sportsbook was also not taking person-to-person wagers. VIP parking was also not available on Tuesday.

Hollywood Casino at Greektown

The casino that seemed to be running closest to full operation was Hollywood Casino at Greektown.

Both levels were open on Tuesday afternoon, with each level containing full selections of slots and table games.

The second level was made a smoking section earlier in the year, while the first level is non-smoking.

Similar to the other casinos, the Barstool Sportsbook was closed off, leaving sports bettors to only use kiosks.

Some of the dining options were closed at the time, as was the PENN Play service member area.

Casinos welcoming union workers to cross picket line

On Tuesday, Buckley put out a statement welcoming any of the union workers to take on their shifts during the strike.

“We will continue to offer employees work, and to the extent employees represented by the union choose to participate in the strike, we will take whatever lawful action is necessary to fill shifts and continue providing our customers with entertainment and service,” he said.

“Although employees represented by the union have the right both to strike and to picket, no one can prevent you from coming to work, threaten you with violence, or interfere with you when you arrive and depart from the property. If you are the target of any such conduct, please report it to Security or Human Resources immediately.”

The striking workers were very loud and present in masses all over the locations of the three Detroit casinos. According to Tyjuanese Taylor, a 23-year employee at MotorCity Casino, this union is going to hold strong.

“We are very unified, very unified,” Taylor told PlayMichigan. “We are all fighting for what we deserve and fighting for each other.”

PlayMichigan will keep you updated on this workers strike as more news develops.

Photo by Drew Ellis / PlayMichigan
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Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis is currently the Lead Writer of He was the former Lead Writer of PlayMichigan, the No. 1 source for online gambling news in Michigan. A lifelong resident of the state, Ellis has been working in various forms of media since 1998, including more than a decade in the sports betting industry prior to transitioning into US casino markets in 2020.

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