Detroit casinos, which draw thousands of customers a day, combating coronavirus fears

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Detroit — The largest continuous gathering places in the city are the three 24-hour casinos, which draw thousands of customers a day.

MGM Grand Detroit says it hasn't seen a decrease in recent days, as coronavirus contine to amp up, but the company, like its two chief competitors Greektown and MotorCity, continues to monitor what now is officially a global pandemic and has stepped up measures to ease customers' concerns.

Detroit's three casinos are taking steps to ease coronavirus fears among its customers.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer confirmed late Tuesday night the first two diagnosed cases in the state, the 37th state to confirms cases.

"We follow all the CDC guidelines that have been issued, and we also have increased the cleaning protocols throughout the property," David Tsai, president and COO of MGM Grand Detroit, said Wednesday morning, ahead of a ceremony celebrating the launching of live sports betting in Michigan.

"We want to make sure we're being responsible and creating a safe environment."

Tsai, when introduced to a reporter Wednesday morning, gave an elbow-bump greeting instead of a handshake. Bartenders and servers at the ceremony wore white gloves. Bathrooms were stocked with Purell as well as hand soap.

More: All 25 Michigan casinos plan sports betting; here's when they'll start

MGM Grand Detroit has about 3,500 slot machines on its sprawling gaming floor, those buttons being pushed countless times a day.

Asked how often the machines, which are in close proximity of each other, are cleaned, Tsai said he "can't speak to specific protocols, but we are following all the guidelines."

Greektown has nearly 3,000 slot machines at its two-floor property, and it says it's increasing how often the machines are cleaned.

It has a statement on its website addressing coronavirus fears, saying, "We continue to closely monitor information from Michigan Department of Health & Human Services as well as the Centers for Disease Control."

Among the added measures Greektown says it's taking: increased fresh-air circulation, more frequent cleaning of restrooms, additional sanitation stations, increased cleaning of door handles, increased carpet cleaning and increased cleaning of elevator buttons.

More: Lions' Barry Sanders to place first bet at MotorCity's sports book

Both MGM Grand and Greektown have advised employees to wash their hands on a regular basis.

"We are committed to working with public health agencies," Greektown said in its statement. "And will adjust our efforts as necessary."

MotorCity, with more than 2,700 slot machines, also told The News it is taking preventative measures, and will continue to assess whether more needs to be done.

Like MGM, MotorCity says it is following CDC guidelines.

"We are staying in close touch with local, state and federal health agencies and trade associations on best practices," it said in a statement. "We have also implemented intensified cleaning/disinfecting of highly trafficked surface and common areas.

"We will remain flexible as new information becomes available."

City officials last week expressed concerns about the impact the coronavirus could have on Detroit's casinos, and ultimately, the city's budget.

"If we end up with a widespread number, we could have empty casinos, which has an immediate effect on revenue," Mayor Mike Duggan said during his budget presentation Friday. Duggan was supposed to be at MGM on Wednesday, but was a last-minute cancellation.

"You could have empty hotels, you could have an impact on the auto show."

Twitter: @tonypaul1984