Confusion Surrounds Detroit Casino Reopening Protocols, Capacity Limit Vague

UPDATE: Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Public Information Officer Lynn Sutfin says the 100 person indoor limit applies to casinos and includes employees. Law enforcement officers will enforce the capacity protocol. 

Detroit casinos can reopen as of today with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) blessing. But there remains some confusion surrounding each gaming floor’s capacity limit.

Detroit casinos are reopening this week, but capacity regulatory guidelines still need to be ironed out. (Image: Shutterstock)

Last week, Whitmer announced that the three-week shutdown of the three casinos would end effective Monday, December 21.

“Casinos, bowling centers, and movie theatres will be allowed to reopen with total capacity capped at 100,” the governor’s press release stated. However, the COVID-19 order said other venues may be permitted to have additional people.

“For all venues, no more than 100 persons may be gathered within any distinct space within the venue, except at stadiums and arenas hosting sporting events, in which case up to 250 persons may be gathered,” the order reads.

MGM Grand Detroit is planning to open on Wednesday at 5 pm. Slot machines and its BetMGM sportsbook will be available at that time. Table games will resume at 8 am Saturday.

MotorCity will restart full casino operations at 1 pm on Wednesday. That includes its FanDuel sportsbook. Greektown has not yet announced when it will unlock its doors.

Capacity Confusion reached out to the governor’s office, the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB), and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) for clarification on how many people each casino is allowed to have indoors. The 100-person capacity limit suggested in Whitmer’s press release would seemingly render gaming operations impractical.

The Michigan Gaming Control Board will issue reopening guidelines consistent with the MDHHS order,” said a brief statement from the MGCB to

As of this morning, no such guidelines have been made public by the gaming regulator.

MGM Grand told The Detroit News that the casino expects to be allowed to have more than 100 people in each space.

“Our team is prepared to welcome back just as many guests on our casino floor as we had prior to our closing in November, socially distanced across our 150,000+ sq. ft. casino floor,” said MGM Resorts International Midwest President David Tsai.

Greektown explained that it’s working with state agencies and local officials to develop its reopening plan.

“As we prepare for our reopening, we ask that you remain patient while we continue to work with the Michigan Gaming Control Board, public health officials, and state and local leaders. We look forward to opening a safe gaming environment for you soon,” Greektown revealed in a tweet.

Further Openings

Whitmer’s revised coronavirus order runs through January 15. At that time, the governor says she will consider further loosening of restrictions, but only if three key metrics are again met.

The first-term governor says the state will use three “Key Metrics for Safe Restart.” The metrics are “share of hospital beds with COVID-19 patients,” “COVID-19 case rates,” and “percent positivity.” All three showed declines when Whitmer last week opted to allow certain indoor businesses to reopen.

“Michiganders did what they were supposed to do over the Thanksgiving holiday, and we avoided the surge so many other states are seeing,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive of the MDHHS.

Devin O'Connor

Gaming Legislation, Politics, Casino Business, Entertainment----Devin O’Connor’s passion for politics and background in the world of pop culture television give him insight into the gaming industry backstories that often drive news these days. After graduating from Penn State University with a theater arts degree, he worked at MTV Networks/Viacom from 2005 to 2010 as a writer and producer, where his credits included Total Request Live, New Year's Eve specials, and a special featuring poker superstar Daniel Negreanu. He later moved on to the HGTV/DIY Network, where he created, wrote, and produced three series specials: That's So House Hunters, That's So 80s, and That's So 90s. Devin came on board with in 2014. He lives in Pennsylvania, and is an avid marathoner, having completed 15 races to date. Email:

View Comments

  • They infection rates have not went down they have risen you're asking us to believe what we hear and not what we see the casino shouldn't have been open up until after the New Year after cold and flu season we are on the front lines Our Lives matter our family lives matter please don't let politics your money play a part in determining whether we live or die because that's what's going on like president-elect Joe Biden says we cannot cure the economy until we get a handle on the virus if we are sick we can't work orbit continuously soprani this disease please we beg you to not let it be all about money and let it be about saving lives

Published by
Devin O'Connor