In the city of Detroit, there are three commercial casinos in operation. Each reopened back in August and were able to get back to work by following strict protocols and guideline set by the state Gaming Control Board. Now, it seems that two of the three casinos are ready to open their poker rooms, which has left the Gaming Board a bit stunned.
Plans Must Be Approved
For a casino to make changes to their operations amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, they must first alert the Board. Just recently, two casinos announced they would be offering poker, which was news to the Board as they had not been alerted of this decision.
The MotorCity Casino sent an email to customers stating their poker room would reopen next week. That was last week, so this indicates the casino is preparing to offer poker this week. Greektown Casino also has stated they hope to have poker back in operation within a few weeks.
The Detroit News spoke with the Board on this issue, with spokesperson Mary Kay Bean stating that they would address poker when one of the casinos indicates they are interested in offering it. Bean was told by the news outlet that MotorCity was emailing customers about a relaunch and she said that any plans must be approved by the board.
Bean reiterated that casinos must follow the workplace safety executive order issued by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The Board must approve plans made by the casino involving how social distancing will take place as well as other safety and health requirements.
So far, the MGM Grand Detroit has made no mention on reopening its poker room.
Getting Back to Work
The commercial casinos in Detroit shut down back in March and were reopened in August with COVID-19 safety plans in place. The shutdown cost the operators hundreds of millions in revenues. The state and city also lost money due to the closure. Over 1,000 employees in Detroit lost their job.
When the casinos reopened, the hope was the revenues would begin to recover. Strict safety and health guidelines were put in place with casinos only allowed to operate at 15% capacity. Every customer that comes inside must have their temperature taken. Many of the casinos slot machines have been turned off so that players can be social distance from each other.
Poker was not allowed at first, as was the case in other states, due to the inability to play with social distancing measures in place. Cards and poker chips are handled by the dealer and the players, which could lead to contamination. It is too difficult to keep the dealer in charge as players must be able to review their cards to make a decision.
It will be interesting to see if the two casinos move ahead with their plans to relaunch poker and do not alert the Board or if they send any plans this week to see if they can get approval and launch as quickly as possible.