All three Detroit casinos pledge to pay workers, at least during initial shutdown

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Detroit — Thousands of Detroit casino workers will continue to be paid, at least through the initial two-week shutdown, MGM Grand, Greektown and MotorCity have announced.

MotorCity said Monday night that all employees will be paid, and full-time employees will continue receiving benefits.

Greektown Casino and Detroit's other two casinos will continue pay and benefits for workers during the shutdown.

"We realize the temporary closure of our casino has associates concerned as to what the next two weeks will bring," the casino, owned by the Ilitch family, said in a statement. The Ilitches, who also own the Red Wings, Tigers and Fox Theatre, have started a $1-million fund on that front to help keep employees paid as the coronavirus has frozen the sports and entertainment industries, among so many others.

MGM Grand, owned by MGM Resorts, confirmed earlier Monday that all full-time employees will continue to receive their full pay, and have benefits coverage through at least June 30.

Greektown, owned by Penn National Gaming, made its announcement early Monday, saying employees will receive full wages and benefits during the two-week closure, "with the hope that the situation in Detroit will allow for the casino to reopen as quickly as possible."

The three Detroit casinos, regulated by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, were told Sunday that they would have to comply with the governor's order limiting the number of people in a confined space.

MGM Grand and Greektown were to close at 5 p.m. Monday, and MotorCity at noon. MotorCity's hotel will remain open, while the other two will not. The casinos each stayed open through the weekend, while attempting to create more distance between guests, with partitions and the shutting off of some slots.

The state's other 23 casinos, all tribal, are not regulated by the gaming board, but many have started closing their doors, as well.

The Detroit casinos employee more than 7,000 workers, who run an industry that brings in billions in revenue each year, and is worth hundreds of millions in tax dollars to the state and city of Detroit.

It's not clear when the casinos will reopen, in the wake of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's executive order shutting down scores of businesses, including in-house service at bars and restaurants, on Monday. It's not clear if employees will continue being paid if the shutdown lasts longer than two weeks, as seems likely.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday recommended at least eight weeks of no gatherings of 50 people or more.

Twitter: @tonypaul1984