Michigan’s Bay Mills Casino to Reopen, Six Days After Damaging Fire

Posted on: May 20, 2022, 05:10h. 

Last updated on: May 20, 2022, 09:14h.

Michigan’s Bay Mills Resort & Casino will reopen at 3 pm today (May 20) following an electrical fire. The tribal gaming venue was closed since Saturday night.

Whitney Gravelle, Bay Mills Indian Community tribal chairperson
Whitney Gravelle, Bay Mills Indian Community tribal chairperson, pictured above. She led the effort to get Michigan’s Bay Mills Resort & Casino to reopen in less than a week. It closed after a fire. (Image: Whitney Gravelle)

The hotel’s reservation system remains damaged. A new reservation system was ordered.

In the meantime, the Michigan Upper Peninsula hotel is taking reservations the old-fashioned way, with pen and paper.

Phone lines, ATMs, gaming technology, the credit card system, and surveillance cameras were repaired. The IT department worked very hard to get the technology systems running in six days, tribal leaders said.

Monumental Effort Praised

This has been a monumental effort to get us back open in less than a week,” Whitney Gravelle, Bay Mills Indian Community tribal chairperson, told the Bay Mills News, a local publication. “The damage that had occurred, although limited, hit us where it hurts.”

A damage estimate was not immediately available. Casino officials estimated the temporary closing will lead to the loss of thousands of dollars, said WPBN, a local TV station.

Gravelle thanked everyone, including customers, for their support and patience during the shuttering. “We look forward to seeing you this weekend,” she added.

Gravelle has been the tribal chairperson after an overwhelming election victory in March 2021. The fire and closure likely have been one of the biggest challenges in her tenure. She is a former tribal attorney for the Bay Mills Indian Community and the former chief judge of the Bay Mills Tribal Court. She graduated from Michigan State University College of Law.

Safe Evacuation of Guests, Employees

On Saturday, the fire was first observed at about 7 pm. It was in an information technology room on the main floor. Sprinklers were activated.

The fire was largely extinguished by water from the sprinklers, WPBN said. Firefighters soon arrived to extinguish the rest of the fire. No one was injured from the fire. Some 250 guests or employees were all safely evacuated from the casino.

On Saturday night, hotel guests were allowed to stay in the hotel. The Back Bay Grill served drinks and food. Hotel guests who left received a full refund. Reservations for five days from Saturday had to be canceled. The guests were refunded their money.

Adjacent Wild Bluff Golf Course remained open for cash-paying players. Three nearby businesses, Bay Mart Gas Station, Four Seasons Market & Deli, and Northern Light Cannabis Company, remained open, too.

The gaming property is located in Brimley, Mich. It is owned and operated by the Bay Mills Indian Community.