Changing Course, Little River Casino to Close Until Dec. 9

Changing Course, Little River Casino to Close Until Dec. 9
By Bryce Derouin

The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, which last week said it would keep the Little River Casino Resort open despite rising coronavirus cases in the state, has decided to temporarily close.

The casino in Manistee, in northwestern Lower Peninsula, closed Sunday at 10 p.m., according to its website. Last week, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced a new state order that included the closure of Detroit’s three commercial casinos.

Little River said it intends to reopen at 8 a.m. on Dec. 9.

“We are supportive of our leaders and the healthcare officials who are the real heroes during this fight,” casino officials said in a news release, according to published reports. “We know that the initiatives being taken by them along with the support of us and the community will help to get this situation under control.”

Tribal casinos in Michigan are not required to follow the state-ordered shutdown and can decide whether to remain open or to close. They have been considering what to do in regard to the order.

With the temporary closing of Little River, seven tribal casinos have decided to shut down temporarily. Bay Mills Resort and Casino in Brimley was the first to close, and Kewadin Casinos followed suit. All five of Kewadin’s locations — Christmas, Hessel, Manistique, St. Ignace and Sault Ste. Marie — closed last week and will reopen on Dec. 9.

Bay Mills, which recently settled a lawsuit with the state over a gaming facility, will reopen on Dec. 8. The Kewadin Casinos will reopen on Dec. 9.

“In a continued effort to reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID19) throughout Michigan, and with regard to the recent announcement by Gov. Whitmer, Kewadin Casinos will be voluntarily closing all five Kewadin Casinos for three weeks,” Kewadin Casinos posted on each of the Facebook pages for its locations.

Government Center Closure

The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians on Nov. 18 announced it was closing its Government Center temporarily after the discovery of two positive cases of COVID-19 within the center. The offices were closed for cleaning.

When the Little River Casino previously decided to stay open last week, it detailed new safety measures it was installing.

Among the changes were reduced hours and occupancy was limited to 25% capacity. In addition, table games were closed through at least Dec. 8 and every other slot machine was to be turned off.

The casino said that properly worn masks and temperature checks will still be required of all guests and team members.

These new safety protocols will likely be in place when the casino reopens on Dec. 9.

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With a decade in the media and gambling space in Michigan, I aim to bring you the latest news and developments in Michigan online casino and sports betting.

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