Detroit Cannabis Casino The REEF May Be First First Of Its Kind In The US

Written By Dan Holmes on May 3, 2023
Cannabis Casino Detroit

A locally-owned Detroit business with a cannabis dispensary license has added casino-style gaming, in what may be a first in the United States.

The REEF Detroit, located at 6640 on 8-Mile Road in Detroit, was one of the first businesses to receive an adult-use dispensary license from the city of Detroit earlier this year. Now, it offers a small collection of casino games for patrons. It’s not clear whether any other dispensary in the U.S. has done anything similar.

The REEF now features a blackjack table, craps table, roulette table, a Plinko machine, and three slot machines. Customers use tokens to play, and any winnings are redeemable for cannabis products only.

“As far as I know, nobody in the country has done it,” said The REEF spokesman Tim Campbell in an interview with Detroit Metro Times.

The REEF is often called a ‘Cannabis Casino’

According to its website, The REEF has a 5,000 square-foot provisioning center, one of the largest in Michigan. The 8-Mile Road location is one of its first, and it also has a storefront in Muskegon. Future ventures are planned for three additional dispensaries and lounges in the Detroit area.

Detroit has yet to pass regulations governing cannabis lounges, and consumption of cannabis in the city limits is still restricted to private residences. Recreational marijuana is legal in Michigan for anyone age 21+.

The REEF originally opened in 2014 and supplied medical marijuana to select customers. But the legalization of recreational marijuana in 2018, and its implementation two years later forced owners to rethink their business strategy.

In 2022, a recreational dispensary in Burton, Dort Hwy Dispo, began experimenting with offering casino-style games at its location. The REEF quickly teamed with Dort and began formalizing a plan to offer casino games with actual wagering. Michigan requires a license to operate slots or casino games with real-money wagering. But The REEF operates with tokens, and thus is not regulated by the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

“This is definitely not gambling,” said Campbell. “Because if you win, you get a pull on the wheel of fortune, or a throw on the craps table. You play with store credit and you win store credit.”

Unique marketing nothing new for The REEF

The REEF has gained attention in the past for its unique marketing promotions. Last year it offered a scratch-off game promotion that awarded free cannabis for life to the winner, as well as other prizes of $100,000 and vacations.

According to Rush Hasan, director of operations and general manager for The REEF, the legal marijuana business in Michigan is projected to be worth $1.7 billion by 2024.

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Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes is a Michigan resident who writes about sports betting, sports media, casino and sports betting legislative matters. He's the author of three books, and previously reported for Major League Baseball, as well as the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

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