What To Expect When Detroit Casinos Reopen? Here's A Peek [PHOTOS]

WWJ News
June 25, 2020 - 6:41 pm
MGM welcome back

(Photo: Jon Hewett/WWJ)

(WWJ) While it's still unknown when Detroit's three casinos will reopen — lots of preparations have already been made. 

Officials at MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity and Greektown casinos say they will be ready to go with safety protocols in place whenever Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gives the green light. 

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WWJ's Jon Hewett was among reporters given a tour of MGM's eerily silent casino floor on Thursday, to have a look at the changes made. 

"In addition to mandatory masks, everyone entering the casino will be temperature checked," Hewett reported. "And once inside you'll see Plexiglass barriers at gaming tables, slot machines deactivated to better enable social distancing...even a sanitation station in the middle on the casino floor." 

MGM casino changes
(Photo: Jon Hewett/WWJ)

MGM casino changes
(Photo: Jon Hewett/WWJ)

MGM casino changes
(Photo: Jon Hewett/WWJ)

Access to each Detroit casino will be limited to 15% of normal capacity. 

"Fifteen percent was something that together with the other Detroit casinos we felt would demonstrate our commitment to showing that health and safety would be first; that we're willing to subject ourselves to a lower capacity constraint than we've seen in any other state so far," said David Tsai, President and COO of Midwest Properties with MGM Resorts International.

"That equates to probably, roughly 1,800 people, we expect, for our casino floor. That translates to roughly 100 square feet per person," Tsai said. "So one of the benefits of having a large facility is we have the space to accommodate people, but also to allow for social distancing."

When the time comes, Tsai said MGM may indeed be the safest casino around.

"We have Michigan Tribal casinos open, we have casinos in Ohio and Indiana open, we have Detroit and Michigan residents visiting these places," he said. "And they don't have the level of protocols that we will have when we reopen, such as masks being required for everyone, temperature screenings and a lot of the other things that we've done here." 

Other changes: There will be no smoking allowed on the gaming floor, and no buffet service. (Read more about the reopening rules HERE).

Something gamblers will certainly notice, Tsai said, is a lot of cleaning going on.

"Regularly cleaning and sanitizing high-touch surfaces, cards, chips, slot machines," Tsai said. "We're gonna have sanitizing wipes available, where guests can grab one, it's complimentary, and sanitize their own surface before they play."

While the casinos are ready to open, Tsai said MGM Grand will wait to open its Detroit hotel until a later date.  

As for the "when" question, casinos are expected to be permitted to open in Phase 5 of Whitmer's 'MI Safe Start' recovery plan. Whitmer said she'd hoped to move the state to that phase this week, but chose not to due to some recent outbreaks of COVID-19; particularly linked to bars. Earlier, the governor said she planned to make the move before the Fourth of July, although — with cases rising — it's unclear if that is still in the cards.

Detroit's casinos have been closed since March 16, under executive orders to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.