COVID-19 restrictions soon to be lifted in Detroit
The casino gaming industry in Detroit could soon take off once again as a ban on capacity limits is set to expire in just a few weeks.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently delivered the good news, and casino leaders have been lobbying for this change for weeks.
According to the announcement from Whitmer, casinos will be able to return to full capacity on July 1. This will come one month after restrictions for all outdoor activities will be lifted on June 1.
The Michigan Gaming Control Board oversees the three commercial casino properties in Detroit, and it will have to announce this as well. The three commercial casinos in Detroit are Greektown Casino, MotorCity Casino, and MGM Grand Detroit.
The MGCB announced that individuals who are vaccinated against COVID-19 do not have to wear masks, but the three casinos have not yet made an announcement. It is likely that the lifting of restrictions and the lifting of the mask mandate occurs on the same date.
Currently, all three properties are operating under a 30% capacity requirement, and that continues to hurt the overall revenues that are coming in. The gaming industry has picked up to begin 2021, but allowing for a full casino will make a big improvement.
Tribal casinos in the state of Michigan do not have to follow the rules set forth by the state, but most of them have followed the general guidelines. A few of the tribes have already lifted the mask mandate, but it is not across the board.
Originally, casinos were allowed to reopen with a 15% capacity limit, but those numbers were changed as the state was able to get a better handle on the pandemic.
Rough Year For Detroit
2020 was set to become a good year for the gaming industry in the state of Michigan, as sports betting officially launched at the beginning of March. On March 16, all of the commercial casinos in Detroit were ordered to close, and they remained shuttered for more than five months.
August brought some relief to these properties, but another spike in COVID-19 cases forced Governor Whitmer to shut them down again in November. After six more weeks of being closed, all three casinos were allowed to reopen and have remained that way ever since.
Even though there are just three commercial casinos in Michigan, the city of Detroit has traditionally had a strong casino industry. Detroit has been near the top five in terms of biggest casino markets but fell to 10th place in 2020, according to the American Gaming Association.
The three commercial properties in Detroit brought in $620.4 million in revenue in 2020, but that is well shy of the normal numbers. Philadelphia and St. Louis are two of the markets that were able to pass up Detroit in the latest report.
The entire United States casino industry was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, as revenue dropped by more than 30 percent. The US casino industry revenue for the 2020 year was $30 billion, but it is typically much higher.
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