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MotorCity Casino backs off plans to reopen poker room

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Detroit — MotorCity Casino has folded its plans to reopen its popular poker room anytime soon.

The casino had blasted out an email to customers last week promoting the poker room's reopening "next week," which would be this week. But those plans were news to the Michigan Gaming Control Board, which needs to approve any such move.

On Tuesday, MotorCity Casino gave a more vague timeline.

MotorCity Casino

“We continue to work with the Michigan Gaming Control Board (MGCB) and look forward to welcoming back our poker players when we are able to do so," casino president Bruce Dall said in a statement to The News.

MotorCity Casino also removed a Facebook post promoting this week's reopening, and Tuesday sent out another email saying there was a "correction" on the restart date. There are now no set dates planned.

A spokesperson for Greektown Casino said its property plans to restart poker in the next few weeks, while a spokesperson for MGM Grand Detroit said it has no plans for poker returning anytime soon.

The three downtown Detroit casinos shut down in March amid the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, and reopened in early August, but with significant restrictions. Capacity is limited to 15%, and hundreds of slots are shut down for social-distance purposes. The casinos had record-setting revenues in 2019, but are on pace for historically low revenues in 2020. More than a thousand workers have been laid off.

Poker is popular in Metro Detroit, with each of the three Detroit casinos expanding poker operations in the past couple years, but also is considered a high-risk activity for COVID-19 purposes, with players touching cards, and chips constantly shifting from one player to the next. In Vegas, most poker rooms have reopened with limited seating, and plexiglass dividers.

MotorCity Casino is considered by Detroit players to be the best of the three poker rooms, because of its big bad-beat jackpot, which is over $100,000.

In 2018, MotorCity Casino paid out a record $1,068,590 bad-beat jackpot.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984