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Simon Deloit May 2, 2020 3 min read
MGM Considers Comprehensive Re-Opening Plans for Each State
Casinos in different states that have been closed since mid-March will re-open according to different timetables, but some state governors have already started moving in the direction of considering the necessary steps, setting up timeframes for large casino operators that have multi-state presence, such as MGM Resorts logistics-wise.
Tribal Venues Exempt
Surprisingly, or maybe not so, one of the first casinos to re-open will be Island Resort & Casino in Harris, Michigan, owned and operated by the Hannahville Indian Community. Tribal venues in the state are not under the jurisdiction of the Michigan Gaming Control Board and they remain outside of reach of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order that will keep Detroit’s Motor City, Greektown and MGM Grand casinos shut through May 28.
The casino that has voluntarily decided to follow the state’s lead on the implementation of the health risk mitigation measures and closed doors March 21, announced Friday it will re-open slot machines, select to-go food service, some bars, bingo and retail, effective May 6. Its golf courses will follow suit two days later, while the hotel will re-open May 13.
Mississippi Casinos Target Memorial Day
And while MGM Grand will have to wait until Gov. Whitmer’s order expiration, MGM’s venues in Mississippi, Beau Rivage in Biloxi and Gold Strike in Tunica, have a chance to re-open sooner, as Gov. Tate Reeves announced during his press conference Thursday, state casinos may be up and running before Memorial Day.
Casinos in Mississippi that have been closed down since March 16 will not be the same, though, due to the set of new measures to ensure social distancing, and changes to table games. Gov. Reeves further explained that the industry is well aware of what is coming as operators are working in collaboration with the Mississippi Gaming Commission and governor’s office regarding plans for re-opening and operations.
Casinos in Massachusetts Have Slim Chances for May
MGM Springfield, as well as the other commercial casinos in Massachusetts will stay closed at least until May 18, as the Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted Friday to extend the closure and match Gov. Charlie Baker’s decision to extend his stay-at-home recommendation and order to keep closed non-essential businesses. Recently, MGM Springfield cancelled all hotel bookings for the period May 1-May 21 and pushed new availabilities to June 1.
Nevada Casinos Will Not Re-Open in May
MGM’s properties in Nevada, the state where it is the largest employer as well as taxpayer, will still have to wait, despite Gov. Sisolak’s announcement on Thursday that the state is effectively moving towards Phase 1 of re-opening by or before May 15. The plan for Phase 1 includes an extensive set of safety measures, but does not involve casino re-openings that have been closed since March 17.
As Gov. Sisolak explained, it would take between 2 and 3 weeks for the effects of the phase to show, which means that casinos would not be able to open throughout May. The final decisions will be up to the Nevada Gaming Control Board, and MGM is planning on starting with its flagship Bellagio to target the high-end customers, and New York-New York to provide the lower-priced offering.
Illinois and New Jersey Unclear
Elsewhere, the Illinois Casino Gaming Association is hopeful operators in the state will be able to re-open June 1, after the Illinois Gaming Board decided to keep the venues shut “until further notice”, while the Casino Association of New Jersey joined efforts with AtlantiCare, to provide advice for Gov. Phil Murphy regarding the rolling back of restrictions.