Mark Your Calendars: MGM And MotorCity Casino Have Opening Dates

Written By Matt Schoch on July 31, 2020 - Last Updated on August 18, 2020
MGM and MotorCity August reopenings

After more than four months, what’s two extra days?

MGM Grand Detroit announced Thursday it would reopen Aug. 7, two days after they are allowed.

However, at least one crosstown rival will beat MGM to the punch. Greektown Casino-Hotel posted on Twitter on Thursday that they expect to open Aug. 5, and a MotorCity Casino official confirmed to PlayMichigan on Friday it would open that day as well.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Wednesday that Detroit’s three casinos could open at 10 a.m. on Aug. 5.

MGM will open Aug. 7; MotorCity on Aug. 5

MGM, the state’s busiest casino, will instead open 48 hours after that, capturing the weekend crowd, though they are forced to stick to a 15% maximum capacity.

“We are excited to reopen our doors and welcome back our guests and team members. These have been difficult and challenging times, but the Detroit community continues to weather these storms and will come back stronger,” said David Tsai, president of the Midwest Group, MGM Resorts. “I’m immensely proud of what our team has accomplished in these last four months to create a safer environment for our guests and employees, while still providing the premier gaming and entertainment experience MGM Grand Detroit is known for.”

Detroit’s casinos have been closed since March 16 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. That was five days after sports betting opened statewide, and at MGM’s BetMGM Sportsbook.

MGM will not open its hotel right away, announcing it will reopen in the “coming weeks and months.”

MGM was the first Detroit casino to announce a reopening date.

15% maximum capacity among the guidelines

Whitmer’s order issued Wednesday detailed the capacity maximum for Detroit’s commercial casinos.

On Thursday, Jocelyn Kelly of MGM told PlayMichigan that restriction would put capacity at about 1,800 patrons on the casino floor.

Whitmer also ordered:

  • Temperature screenings for all entrants, including employees
  • Face masks required, except for eating, drinking or identification purposes
  • No smoking inside
  • Plexiglass or 6 feet between operating slot machines
  • No coat check or valet
  • No buffet or self-serve drink stations

MGM has a seven-point safety plan and more

In addition, MGM Resorts International issued a seven-point safety plan for the reopening of their casinos.

MGM Grand Detroit also announced Thursday they will have:

  • Restaurant digital menus available to view via QR codes
  • Virtual waiting lists for restaurant guests and text message notification
  • An internal team and processes to deal with the discovery of COVID-positive employees or customers

In addition to the hotel, MGM’s spa and poker room will remain closed.

Slot machines, table games and the sportsbook will open, as will TAP Sports Bar and National Coney Island in the dining court.

Reopenings a long time coming in Detroit

There was hope that Whitmer would allow the casinos to reopen for the Fourth of July.

But in late June, Michigan had an uptick of COVID-19 cases, and the governor declined.

However, Wednesday’s order expressed confidence in what’s been going on around the country.

“Casinos have been operating safely across most of the country and in tribal areas in Michigan and should be able to do so in the Detroit region as well,” Whitmer wrote in her order.

According to the COVID-19 Casino Tracker maintained by the American Gaming Association,  843 casinos nationwide were open Thursday and 147 were closed.

Nothing definite yet from Greektown Casino

While MGM was first to make a reopening announcement, its two downtown rivals will open first.

Greektown posted on Twitter that it hopes to reopen on Aug. 5.

MotorCity confirmed a 10 a.m. opening for Wednesday.

“We appreciate the Governor’s decision to provide an opening date for Detroit casinos of August 5,” MotorCity President Bruce Dall said in a statement. “We look forward to safely welcoming our staff and guests back to MotorCity Casino.”

Dall said up to 50% of the staff will be called back from furlough. He also said the company would extend medical insurance benefits for all other laid-off employees through Aug. 31. The benefits were otherwise going to expire on Friday.

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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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