Casinos in Detroit limited to 15% occupancy upon reopening

Michigan is the latest state to announce plans for reopening its commercial casinos.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) has published reopening guidelines for the three commercial casinos located in Detroit, Michigan.

The regulatory body has yet to confirm a reopening date for the three commercial casinos in Detroit. The three venues temporarily closed their doors on 16 March to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

While the state’s commercial casinos have remained closed since mid-March, some tribal casinos in the state began a phased reopening in early May. However, this decision came under fire from state officials and the Governor.

Although the date for the reopening of Detroit’s commercial casinos will be determined by an executive order from Governor Gretchen Whitmer, the publishing of public health and safety protocols indicate that officials are making preparations to reopen the city’s casinos.

Reopening measures

According to the MGCB’s guidelines, each casino will be required to limit their entrance points and carry out temperature checks on visitors before they are allowed to enter the venue. On top of this, each casino will be limited to a capacity of 15% based on Fire Department maximums.

Casino venues will be required to ensure queues to enter properties are properly social distance with a space of at least six feet between each person. This will help avoid people from congregating outside venues.

Poker rooms will remain closed, due to the challenges in maintaining social distancing at the tables. Other tables games will be limited to three players, but this will be increased to four players for midi-baccarat and roulette games. Craps tables will be limited to six players at a time. All dealers will be required to wear face shields and masks.

When it comes to slot games, casinos must ensure social distancing can be maintained by installing plexiglass barriers between machines, removing seats from some machines or by turning some machines off to create space between players.

Some amenities including concerts, nightclubs, live events and shows will well remain prohibited upon reopening. Promotional activities and events that may cause a spike in visitation will also be prohibited.

Smoking will also be banned on the casino floor and operators will be required to provide an alternative smoking area.

Richard S. Kalm, MGCB executive director, said: “In compiling these minimum guidelines, we considered CDC recommendations, Nevada Gaming Board guidelines and information from the National Indian Gaming Commission. We required the casinos to propose reopening plans, and we consulted with the casino unions on the guidelines. We believe the guidelines will protect the public when it is safe to reopen the casinos.”

Gambling expansion in Michigan

On 20 December 2019, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed HB 916 into law, creating the Lawful Sports Betting Act. Under this law, commercial and tribal casinos can offer land-based and online sports betting in Michigan.

Governor Whitmer also signed HB 4308 into law, legalizing fantasy sports contests in the state of Michigan.

HB 4311 was also signed into law, creating the Lawful Internet Gaming Act. Under this law, mobile and online casino gambling is now legal in the state of Michigan. Under the law, the MGCB was granted the power to issue licenses for online and mobile casino gambling.

Last month, the MGCB began the process of accepting online gambling supplier license applications.

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