Going back to mid-March, the coronavirus pandemic basically shutdown the US land-based casino industry. Casinos in some states reopened their doors as early as May. Gambling venues in harder hit states did not start back up until July.
For three casino operations in Detroit, that wait dragged into August. According to a recent post on Detroit News website, that wait finally came to an end on Wednesday, Aug. 5. Curtis Martin is 87 years old. He is also a longtime Detroit resident. His comment on the situation summed things up rather appropriately:
When Will Casinos In Detroit Finally Reopen for Business?
“I’m glad they’re open, but I think they’ve been closed for too long.”
This comment was made in front of the Greektown Casino and Hotel. Mr. Martin was among the hundreds of guests making the initial trip back. This was nearly four months in the making. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer initially closed the casinos down on March 16.
As one of the first back, he also was with his 91-year old girlfriend, Rosa Johnson. Both were looking forward to winning some money.
The MGM Grand is another Detroit casino property.
They held a special event last Wednesday for invited guests. The general reopening took place on Friday, Aug. 7. The normal health and safety protocols were put into place. Masks and social distancing are now casino floor stables. So is reduced capacity and player limits on table games. Alternative active slots are another distancing technique.
Matt Buckley is the senior vice president of marketing and operations for the MGM property. He stated:
“We wanted our best customers to get the first taste of what the new normal is. And two, there are so many new safety protocols it’s definitely a different experience. We wanted our team members to get used to it too before we have the masses come in and overwhelm them.”
The Aug. 5 opening also marked the first time casino employees worked in almost four months. Bruce Dall is the president of the MotorCity Casino Hotel in Illinois. This is the third casino gambling property in the city. He added:
“Most importantly, this decision allows us to initially recall up to 50% of our staff. Providing critical employment and health benefits.”
The casino continued to extend the health benefits for employees not called back. This runs through the month of August.
The MGM Grand was forced to layoff 2,800 employees during the shutdown. It has been able to recall 1,200 back to work. This was according to casino officials.
The three Detroit casinos have combined for $299.2 million in revenue this year. This reflects a 59.3 percent loss due to the extended closure. Through the first six months last year, total revenue at the three locations was $735.4 million. These figures were released by the Michigan Gaming Board.
The closure has had a major impact on the city itself. The loss in tax revenue alone has been devastating to the budget. Early assumptions are looking for $3 million in taxes per month. This is expected to increase in time.
• Source: Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest to offer past finalists money for utility bills From Detroitnews.com On August 5, 2020.