Michigan’s Island Resort Plans to Reopen Slots, Bingo on Wednesday

Posted on: May 2, 2020, 08:34h. 

Last updated on: May 3, 2020, 12:34h.

Michigan’s Island Resort and Casino is scheduled to reopen slots and bingo on Wednesday morning, with multiple health precautions in place at the tribal venue. The state’s commercial casinos remain shuttered, however, as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer faces opposition in her efforts to keep gaming properties and other non-essential businesses closed during the coronavirus pandemic.

Whitmer Continues Shutdown
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer continues the shutdown of commercial casinos and other non-essential businesses. At least one tribal casino is planning to reopen next week. (Image: The Associated Press/Al Goldis)

Island Resort and Casino’s slots, bingo, and limited food and bar offerings will be offered next week under the first part of the operation’s reopening. Later this month, the property will reopen its golf course and hotel.

At a future date, the spa, convention center, table games, and poker will reopen. The casino was closed on March 21.

The casino is operated by the Hannahville Indian Community. Tribal casinos basically are not regulated by the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

Earlier, tribal casinos in the state voluntarily closed followed safety guidance from officials. In planning its reopening, Island Resort executives say they used standards and procedures from the National Indian Gaming Commission and government officials to ensure worker and player safety.

“All industry precautions are being taken at this time,” Tony Mancilla, the casino’s general manager, said in a statement quoted by WLUC. “The facility will be cleaned and sanitized on a continual basis.”

For instance, players and employees will get their temperatures checked at entrances using contactless infrared thermometers. Anyone with a fever of over 100 degrees will not be allowed inside.

Hand sanitizer stations will be situated throughout the casino. Face masks will be offered to players and guests.

Food and beverages will be served in carry-out packages, the statement adds. Guests will be provided individual golf carts if requested.

“As always, we strive to provide superior service and quality entertainment for our guests,” the casino said in a Facebook post. “To do this in the safest manner while keeping the health of our guests and employees the number one priority, we have outlined these guidelines and expectations.

Employees and guests not feeling well are asked to stay home and follow CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines,” the casino advises. “We suggest vulnerable individuals per the federal recommendations take special precautions and/or consider not visiting our facility at this time.”

The casino further recommends workers, players, and guests wear a “personal mask if they choose.” Plexiglass barriers were installed inside the casino to separate employees and guests.

Frequently touched surfaces and slot machines will be routinely sanitized. The casino also wants workers and guests to “keep a six-foot distance from others while moving through the casino or standing in line.”

Additionally, tables and chairs in the casino were moved. This is to ensure social distancing.

Casino Is Called ‘Greedy’

But not everyone is enthused about the casino reopening. In a Facebook post, one woman, identified as Donna Mineau, said: “You should be held responsible when the second wave comes. I have an elderly father and … [aunt] who work here who are both dedicated to … [their] jobs and I pray to god nothing happens to them!!

“Greedy is what you are…. [All] you care about is making money!! Glad all the other tribes are keeping … [their] casinos closed due to safety of their workers and public!!,” Mineau added.

But another person, identified as Mandy Gould, responded that people “have to account” for themselves. If they “get sick it’s their own fault.”

Donna Mineau retorted “so if my father gets sick it’s his own fault that he’s … dedicated to his job and is being forced to go back to work and be exposed to this virus? … Get freaking real!!!!”

Elsewhere, the Coeur d’Alene tribal gaming property in Idaho reopened to the public on Friday. Safety precautions were enacted at that casino, too.

On Thursday, Gov. Whitmer ordered Michigan’s commercial casinos to stay closed at least through May 28. The same holds true for many other public venues.

But the Michigan Gaming Control Board does not regulate retail gaming at tribal casinos, a board spokeswoman told Casino.org on Friday.

“Our only role is to audit for compliance with compact requirements related to revenue-sharing payments,” the spokeswoman explained. “When online gaming is introduced, the tribes can obtain online gaming licenses from the agency.”

The governor’s office handles compact relations with the casinos, too. In a statement released on Thursday, Whitmer said, “Although we are beginning to see the curve flatten, we are not out of the woods yet.

Whitmer Challenged on Her Orders

“We must all continue to be diligent, observe social distancing, and limit in-person interactions and services to slow the spread of COVID-19,” she added.

Michigan has seen 42,356 coronavirus cases as of Friday. There were some 3,866 COVID-19 associated fatalities.

The virus has killed more Michiganders than we lost during the Vietnam war,” Whitmer said. “Extending this order is vital to the health and safety of every Michigander. If we work together and do our part, we can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.”

The Michigan legislature Thursday allowed a lawsuit which challenges the governor’s powers to continue the shutdown of non-essential businesses, the Detroit News reported.

Hundreds of protesters, many of them armed with guns or not wearing face masks, showed up at the capitol in Lansing this week to object to the stay-at-home order and business closings. Several said they want the governor impeached.