Casinos in and around Michigan’s city of Detroit have been closed for just over four months now. The casinos closed on March 16 after the state issued a stay-at-home order to combat the spread of COVID19. Unsurprisingly, the state is thought to have lost more than $87 million in taxes over the period due to the closure.
The Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) recently released a statement that indicated that the three casinos located in Detroit alone had seen a decline of $436.2 million in revenue compared to the same period last year. The state would have been due 8.1% of this figure in taxes, whereas the city of Detroit itself would have collected 10.9%.
It is estimated that for each day that the casinos remain closed, the state will lose around $822,000 in taxes. These funds go to a variety of causes.
Michigan Casinos Essential to State Coffers
Currently, it is unclear when it will be safe for Michigan casinos to open again. While casinos run by Native American tribes have reopened with economic pressure being the reason, it seems that Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has no comment on Detroit casinos in this tough situation.
In an attempt to recoup some revenues, the MGM Grand Detroit and MotorCity Casino have both started accepting hotel reservations made after 1 August. Both casinos have stated that they will resume gaming operations when they get the go-ahead from the state to do so. MGM says that once they can reopen, they will keep capacity to 15%.
Michigan Hit Hard by COVID-19
Governor Whitmer faces a tough situation with the pandemic, which probably explains the reluctance to comment on reopening casinos in Detroit. Currently, Michigan ranks 13th in total COVID-19 cases, with 82 486.
However, they rank 7th in total deaths with a much lower rate of infection than several other states. States such as Texas, Florida and Georgia all have more cases than Michigan but a far lower death number. Wayne County (the area in which Detroit is located) also seems to be the infection and death epicentre of Michigan.
Whitmer recently made it mandatory to wear masks in indoor spaces, such as grocery stores and pharmacies. So, perhaps the action will soon lead to a decline, and casinos will be able to reopen soon? Who knows?
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