Michigan Gaming Control Board Releases Minimum Guidelines for Casino Reopenings

In Michigan, tribal casinos are getting ready to open in the next few days. The casinos can reopen as they like due to not having to follow state regulations. For commercial casinos in Detroit, they must adhere to state regulations. The Michigan Gaming Control Board announced their minimum guidelines for the casinos to reopen safely. The coronavirus pandemic is still a problem, so venues must ensure cleaning as well as social distancing is in place so that patrons and employees remain healthy.

Guidelines and Reopening Procedures

On Monday, the Gaming Control Board released the minimum guidelines for the Detroit casinos to get back to work. While these guidelines have been released, the commercial casinos must wait until Governor Gretchen Whitmer announces they can reopen based on the state’s Safe Start Plan. Tribal casinos can reopen independently, so they do not have to wait on approval.

By June 5th, 10 casinos operated by tribal groups were open. There is a total of 24 tribal run casinos in Michigan. The only commercial properties are the three Detroit casinos. The casinos were ordered to shut down in March due to the issue with the coronavirus. The casinos in Detroit had just released sports betting with sportsbook lounges having opened only a few days before the closure. At the same time, March Madness was canceled along with a ton of other sports, which led to no sports betting, casino gaming, poker, etc. in Michigan and other states.

Strict Guidelines

The guidelines for Detroit casinos to reopen are strict, especially when compared to other states. However, Michigan has been hit hard from the coronavirus, with a large number of cases emerging every day.

The casinos in Detroit are limited to 15% capacity. This is quite low when most casinos in the US that are reopening are at 50% capacity. The casinos cannot offer poker at all and there are limited entrance points on-site. At the casino entrance points, players as well as employees will have their temperature checked.

The guidelines were created by the board based on recommendations by the CDC. They also looked at the Nevada Gaming Control Board guidelines along with information provided by the National Indian Gaming Commission.

The board required casinos to provide reopening plans and also consulted with casino unions on the guidelines before introducing them. The board feels that the guidelines they created will protect the public as the casinos reopen.

The guidelines do not allow smoking at all within the properties. Patrons must wear masks at all times that cover both the nose and mouth. They can only remove the mask when eating or drinking. Employees will also wear masks. Anyone that is screened for a temperature and has a 100.4 degree or higher reading will not be allowed inside.

Table games like blackjack will allow three players at each table. Mini baccarat games and roulette will have four players per table. For craps games, a total of six players can be located at one table. Dice must be disinfected for each shooter in craps games. Dealers will wear face masks and can choose to wear a face shield as well.

Slot machines are to be cleaned on a frequent basis. Hand dispensers with sanitizer will need to installed throughout the properties to help players and employees wash their hands when needed.

Now that the guidelines have been announced, it shouldn’t be too long before we find out a date for the casinos in Detroit to reopen. It may be July before this happens as the casinos start to work on implementing these changes.


Rebecca lives in Las Vegas and after completing her degree at Reynolds Journalism school joined the USGS team to pursue her journalism dreams.