Greektown Casino workers hit the jackpot with $500 gift cards from ex-owner Gilbert

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Employees of the Greektown Casino-Hotel received gift cards Friday from former owner Dan Gilbert's JACK Entertainment allowing the gambling center's sale to Penn National Gaming.

Detroit — Employees at Greektown Casino-Hotel were noticeably buzzing Friday morning, having just received word of a generous parting gift from their former boss.

Dan Gilbert's JACK Entertainment company recently finalized its all-cash $1-billion sale to Penn National Gaming Inc. and then used a portion of the proceeds to give each full-time Greektown Casino-Hotel employee a $500 gift card.

Multiple employees mentioned the gift cards to a Detroit News reporter Friday morning, hours after the gifts were announced to employees. The bonuses were confirmed by a spokesperson for Bedrock Detroit, one of Gilbert's companies.

“Greektown Casino-Hotel has been a member of the Rock Family of Companies for six years and as these team members transition to a new company, the JACK Entertainment leadership team wanted to show our sincere appreciation for their hard work and accomplishments with a personal parting gift," Matt Cullen, chief executive officer of JACK Entertainment, told The News in a statement.

The Bedrock spokesperson said 1,400 full-time Greektown Casino-Hotel employees each received a $500 gift card, and another 300 part-time employees got a $250 card.

Altogether, that's more than a $775,000 commitment from Gilbert, whose company also covered the taxes on the gifts, the spokesperson confirmed.

The gift cards are Detroit Cards and redeemable at several properties, more than 50 in all, in Detroit and around Greektown. They include Under Armour, Townhouse Detroit, The Hudson Cafe, The Whitney and Shinola, among others.

Gilbert bought Greektown Casino-Hotel, a then-struggling 100,000-square-foot property with 400 hotel rooms, in 2013 for $600 million.

Gilbert, 57, the billionaire Detroit booster who founded mortgage-lending giant Quicken Loans, has been recovering from a stroke suffered in May.

Twitter: @tonypaul1984