Michigan Tribal Casinos Ramping Up Summer Concerts, Shows After Tough 2020

Written By Matt Schoch on May 12, 2021 - Last Updated on June 1, 2021

After a down year in 2020, Michigan tribal casino events are hoping for a bounce back.

A summer tourism season back at pre-pandemic levels would be a welcome development for the state’s 12 federally recognized tribes.

Slot revenue was down 19.8% for the state’s 23 tribal casinos in 2020, as temporary closures and restrictions made impacts on most of the year.

With vaccination rates climbing and COVID numbers finally getting under control, a summer closer to normal could be in the cards.

All sorts of changes at FireKeepers Casino

FireKeepers Casino is gearing up for a monumental summer, headlined by the opening of a second hotel tower.

Two hundred more rooms will be available at the Battle Creek casino after a mid-summer grand opening.

During the grand opening, FireKeepers also plans to unveil new high-limit gaming areas, a new lobby bar, a second Gapi Coffee location and the revamped Nibi restaurant. Nibi is moving to the second tower with more seating, a private dining area, and the ability to host guests under 21 years old.

The poker room reopened May 1, and online gambling products will be coming soon. FireKeepers and Soaring Eagle Casino in Mount Pleasant plan to brand online sports betting and online casino platforms with their well-known casino names later this year.

Many concerts coming to Michigan casinos

It seems like every day in the early parts of the pandemic, social media accounts for the casinos announced a new closure of an upcoming concert.

Live shows are returning across the state, little by little.

Soaring Eagle has an outdoor concert venue, which will come in handy this summer.

Marquette’s Ojibwa Casino opening 1,200-seat venue in August

Ojibwa Casino in Marquette is opening a new 1,200-seat venue, the Marquette Event Center, with a pair of concerts on Aug. 27 and 28 with country music performer Mark Chesnutt.

Tickets are $45 and available by calling 800-514-3849.

Some other concerts and performances coming to the Michigan tribal casino events schedule soon include:

FireKeepers

  • Jake Owen, Aug. 21
  • Larry the Cable Guy, Sept. 4
  • Randy Houser, Oct. 16
  • Chicago, Nov. 5
  • Tyler Henry, Nov. 18

Four Winds, New Buffalo

  • Happy Together, Aug. 13
  • Melissa Etheridge, Oct. 8

Island Resort

  • Clint Black, May 14-15
  • Hairball, Aug. 18
  • Heart to Heartbreaker & Crazy Babies, Aug. 19
  • Josh Turner, Aug. 20
  • Buckcherry, Aug. 21
  • Fleetwood Max, Aug. 28

Northern Waters

  • Bear Creek Band, May 14-15
  • Apolllo’s Beacon, May 28-29
  • Eliminator: ZZ Top Tribute, June 11

Odawa Casino, Petoskey

  • Ty Herndon, May 22
  • Herb The Artist, May 28

Ojibwa Casino, Marquette

  • Mark Chesnutt, Aug. 27-28

Soaring Eagle

  • Luke Bryan with Morgan Evans, May 29
  • Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa, July 15
  • Miranda Lambert with Lee Brice, July 24
  • Shinedown with THEORY and Pop Evil, Aug. 6
  • Kid Rock with Grand Funk Railroad, Aug. 14
  • Keith Urban with Lindsay Ell, Aug. 28
  • Tim McGraw, Sept. 18
  • Megadeth and Lamb of God, Sept. 24

Turtle Creek sportsbook reopening May 21

Traverse City will have its main in-person betting facility back this month.

The Onyx Sports Book by William Hill is scheduled to reopen May 21.

As we reported last month, the sportsbook was closed temporarily because of a staffing shortage.

The sister casino for the Grand Traverse Bay Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Leelanau Sands in Peshawbestown, reopened its bingo room on May 5.

Other reopenings at Michigan tribal casinos

  • Bay Mills Casino: The Brimley casino is reopening the Sunrise RV Campground on May 14. In addition, Sacy’s Restaurant and Gift Shop is now open from 4-8 p.m. daily.
  • Gun Lake Casino: The Wayland casino introduced new dining concepts recently, including Shkode steakhouse; CBK for food and beer; and 131 Sportsbar & Lounge.
  • Kewadin Casinos: Table games reopened May 5 at the Christmas location. The hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 4 p.m.-midnight with $10 minimums, masks required, and blackjack and Let It Ride available.
  • Ojibwa Casinos: Beginning May 20, the Baraga location is extending its weekend hours to … well, every hour. The casino will be open from 7 a.m. on Thursdays until 2:30 a.m. on Monday mornings.
  • Soaring Eagle: The state’s largest tribal casino reopened its Spa & Salon on May 11. Call 989-775-5403 to book an appointment.
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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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