Some Tribal Casinos in Michigan to Remain Open During Shutdown Order

With COVID-19 cases raging out of control in much of the country, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued an emergency order last week closing many public spaces in the state, and Detroit’s 3 casinos have been ordered closed at least through Dec. 8.

Michigan gamblers have fewer options than usual when it comes to places to bet. Online casinos and sports betting have not yet gone live in the state, so bettors are limited to land casinos on the best of days. In Detroit that means MotorCity Casino, MGM Grand Detroit, and Greektown Casino, all of which are affected by the closure order.

Michigan’s tribal casinos are located on sovereign tribal land, however, and not beholden to the laws of the state. During the pandemic most tribal casinos reopened before their Detroit counterparts did the same. This time around, some have announced their intention to stay open while others are following the Detroit casinos’ lead.

Tribal Casinos Open During New Pandemic Closures

Several Michigan tribal casinos have posted notices about their plans to remain open on their websites.

Soaring Eagle (Mount Pleasant) “Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort and Slot Palace will remain open with continued health and sanitation measures in place.”

Saganing Eagles Landing “Saganing Eagles Landing Casino & Hotel will remain open with continued health and sanitation measures in place.”

Firekeepers (Battle Creek) “We Will Remain Open!”

Gun Lake Casino (Wayland) “Gun Lake Casino is confident in our Play It Safe Initiative, a thought out safety plan implemented during the casino’s initial re-opening in June. While Gun Lake Casino will remain OPEN…”

Tribal Casinos Observing Shutdown Order And Remaining Closed

Some tribal casinos are opting to follow the closure order out of an abundance of caution. Bay Mills Resort and Casino announced on its website it will close for the duration of the order.

“With the increase of cases and exposure to Covid-19 in our area, Bay Mills Resort and Casino will be closing at 12pm on Wednesday, November 18, 2020.  All hotel reservations between November 18th and December 9th will be cancelled automatically.  Please follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more updates.”

Kewadin Casinos, owned and operated by the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, announced on their website that they also intend to keep their five properties closed until Dec. 9.

“In a continued effort to reduce the spread of Coronavirus (COVID19) throughout Michigan, and with regard to the recent announcement by Gov. Whitmer, Kewadin Casinos will be voluntarily closing all five Kewadin Casinos for three weeks.”

This includes Kewadin Casino Christmas, Kewadin Casino Sault Ste. Marie, Kewadin Casino Hessel, Kewadin Casino St. Ignace, and Kewadin Casino Manistique.

Some Remaining Open With Modified Hours, Capacity

Some of the tribal casinos remaining open have announced reduced hours or additional safety measures intended to keep guests safe.

Island Resort & Casino announced on Twitter that it would be closing Club Four One until Dec. 10, including suspending of any scheduled performances.

Gun Lake Casino will close its retail sportsbook counter and its Stage 131 venue, noting kiosks will be available during its normal operating hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The casino is also closing all table games outside of the high-limit room.

Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel and Leelanau Sands Casinos announced on Facebook that they would remain open but change their hours, to 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 10 a.m.-2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

About the Author

Chris Nesi

Chris Nesi is a contributor at Michigan Sharp and the Managing Editor of Colorado Sharp. He’s been an editor and writer for more than a decade, with experience spanning newspapers, magazines, digital news, and commercial writing. His work can be found in publications including TechCrunch, Mental Floss, and Huffington Post. Chris enjoys politics and gambling, and writing about the points at which those worlds intersect.