Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Sunday that she would be implementing new COVID-19 restrictions. Those restrictions include another shutdown of Detroit’s three commercial casinos, according to a report from the local FOX affiliate.
Along with the casinos, Whitmer is also forcing high schools, colleges, indoor dining and movie theatres to cease operations. The restrictions will go into effect this Wednesday and will last for three weeks, meaning casinos will be eligible to reopen no earlier than Dec. 9.
The move comes amid another spike in coronavirus cases, which is what Whitmer cited as the reason for the second gaming shutdown.
“Right now, there are thousands of cases a day and hundreds of deaths a week in Michigan, and the number is growing,” said Whitmer. “If we don’t act now, thousands more will die, and our hospitals will continue to be overwhelmed. We can get through this together by listening to health experts once again and taking action right now to slow the spread of this deadly virus.”
With regards to COVID-19 restrictions, Michigan was one of the strictest states in the country. With its commercial casino industry, all three were shuttered in mid-March like the rest of the country, but they didn’t reopen until early August.
Whitmer is the first governor to institute a second casino shutdown, but other areas of the country have enacted restrictions on brick-and-mortar gaming operators.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker banned overnight operations at his state’s three casinos, while Colorado casinos have decided to temporarily ban table games, opting for only slot machine play in its casinos.
A few tribal casinos in Wisconsin and Wyoming also decided to close, but those decisions were made by the tribes themselves and not by state officials.
With brick-and-mortar casinos closed for a second time, the lack of tax revenue could give lawmakers the incentive needed to move faster on the pending online gambling launch, which includes poker. After some hope for a November rollout, it is looking like sometime before the 2021 Super Bowl is the more likely target date.