October 23, 2023 3 min read


Canadian Casinos Draw in Foreign Visitors as Michigan Poker Rooms Shut Down amidst Strikes

While Detroit’s three leading casinos remain open, the labor action has left the poker rooms empty, encouraging bettors to visit nearby Windsor

A strike by 3,700 casino workers in Detroit has led to the closure of poker rooms at two high-profile casino properties, MotorCity Casino and MGM Grand Detroit. The strike comprises employees from five different unions and has inadvertently bolstered Canadian gambling tourism, as the nearest fully operational venue is just a short border crossing away.

Protests Are Causing Significant Disruptions

Poker rooms at MotorCity Casino and MGM Grand Detroit have been temporarily closed following the strike. An update on MotorCity Casino’s website informed visitors of the poker room’s closure. Similarly, a sign at MGM Grand Detroit notified guests that the poker room was temporarily unavailable. However, Hollywood Casino in Greektown confirmed that the strike had not affected their offerings.

The protests, affecting crucial positions like dealers, food and beverage staff, and engineers, stem from demands for improved healthcare, higher wages, and a return to pre-pandemic staffing levels. Negotiations between the Detroit Casino Council and the casino operators have been ongoing since September, but the two parties have unfortunately made little progress.

Detroit casino workers need a job that respects our health and our future. We now have to stand up and reset the relationship between us and the companies.

Detroit Casino Council strike flier 

The strike launched when the three-year extension to the original five-year contract, agreed upon during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, expired on Tuesday. Workers argue that revenue has now returned to pre-pandemic levels, especially with the inclusion of iGaming throughout Michigan. Poker enthusiasts and staff will face an uncertain period until the affected parties reach an agreement.

Caesars Windsor Attracts Americans with Comprehensive Casino Offering

While the three casinos affected by the strike will remain open, the protests have caused noticeable disruptions. Gordon Orr, CEO of Tourism Windsor-Essex Pelee Island (TWEPI), has offered Detroit bettors an alternative, inviting them to take a short trip across the border to Caesars Windsor, a world-class gaming option free of labor disputes.

Orr emphasized that the Canadian offering provided a quality gaming experience without crossing picket lines, making it a suitable alternative for US casino-goers who wish to avoid the Detroit labor strike. Caesars Windsor manager of PR and communications Susanne Tompkins was also excited to welcome foreign visitors, highlighting the venue’s world-class amenities.

Caesars Windsor is our number one tourist attraction. We’ve got it all… world-class gaming, a 5,000-seat Coliseum with A-List entertainment, gaming, and, of course, restaurants.

Susanne Tompkins, Caesars Windsor manager of PR and communications

While the strike’s future remains uncertain, the impact on Detroit’s poker rooms is a stark reminder of the ongoing challenges faced by the casino industry amid calls for better worker conditions and the return to pre-pandemic norms. Unlike Nevada residents, Michiganders have a viable alternative nearby, exacerbating the pressure for casinos to reach an agreement with protesters.

Deyan is an experienced writer, analyst, and seeker of forbidden lore. He has approximate knowledge about many things, which he is always willing to apply when researching and preparing his articles. With a degree in Copy-editing and Proofreading, Deyan is able to ensure that his work writing for GamblingNews is always up to scratch.

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