Starting today, the capacity restrictions at casinos located in Detroit will ease up just a bit. The MotorCity Casino, MGM Grand Detroit, and the Greektown Casino can operate at 30% capacity on the gaming floor. The decision was made to increase capacity in several areas, including restaurants and sporting events in the state. The restaurants of the casinos can now function at 50% capacity.
Large Change from 15% Capacity
When the COVID-19 pandemic first began, casinos in Detroit as well as around the United States shut down. It was expected that the closures would just last a few weeks, but instead, in some areas, they lasted for months. In Detroit, the casinos were allowed to reopen under a directive made by Governor Gretchen Whitmer in August.
The casinos were closed for almost five months, which resulted in millions in revenue losses. The reopening of the venues coincided with the start of sports betting as it was launched in the state just five days before reopening.
However, a spike in cases resulted in another shutdown in November. The casinos reopened again near Christmas. From that point on, only as many as 100 people could gather in space. The MotorCity Casino was operating at a very small 12.5% capacity.
President of the casino, Bruce Dall, spoke to PlayMichigan, stating that with the latest increase, the casino does not expect any guests to have to wait for long periods of time, even on their busy nights. Early on, the 15% cap had the casino’s top capacity at only 1,800 people.
Even with a larger capacity percentage, the Detroit commercial casinos will operate based on COVID-19 protocols. Mask wearing is still mandatory and social distancing measures are in place. The casinos also have cleaning and sanitizing schedules so that high touch services are cleaned frequently. The overall goal is to keep players and employees safe and healthy.
The casinos are certainly ready to welcome more guests inside. The past year was a mess, causing a huge drop in revenues. With more capacity, the properties will hopefully be able to see some sort or recovery from 2020.
At the end of 2020, the state released its gaming revenue reports. In Detroit, the news was not good. When compared to 2019, the three casinos saw 57.9% less earnings. The combined reporting came in at $639 million.
MGM Grand held the largest market share in 2020 at 41%. MotorCity came in next with 36% and Greektown rounded the group out with 23%. In December, the casinos collected just over $23 million in earnings. This amount was much lower due to the limited capacity for nine days in the month due to the virus.
Currently, casinos have an option that will hopefully help to bring in much-needed revenues. The state recently launched online casino gaming and the results have already been positive. Players are logging on in record numbers to play casino games, poker, and continue to take part in sports betting.
The state is set up now that even if another shutdown were to take place, the casinos would still be able to bring in funds due to the new iGaming industry. Which is a definite plus!