College football bowl season is a boon for sports bettors, with games on throughout the day and night during the holidays. But on New Year’s Eve, sportsbook patrons at the FireKeepers Casino in Battle Creek, Michigan, won’t be able to wager after 3 p.m. because of the casino’s decision to shut down the facility to the public amid coronavirus concerns.
The casino will reopen at 7 a.m. on New Year’s Day for normal operations.
“With our occupancy constraints due to social distancing, we can’t be the place where the public goes to party this year,” Jim Wise, FireKeepers vice president of marketing, said in a news release. “We will instead close to the public, avoid potential traffic nightmares and extended delays to enter the building. Our goal is to advise the public well in advance to allow them to make other New Year’s Eve plans; while we focus on hosting a safe, socially distanced gathering.”
In normal years, FireKeepers holds a New Year’s Eve party with bands, dancing and special drawings and giveaways on the casino floor. But given the circumstances of the pandemic, FireKeepers decided to shift to a property-wide, invitation-only evening closed off to the public, the release said.
This means sports bettors who wish to bet on the evening New Year’s Eve games or major bowls on New Year’s Day will have to do so earlier in the day before closing time.
In June, FireKeepers became the latest tribal casino to offer a sportsbook in Michigan with the debut of Dacey’s.
The sportsbook is located in a restaurant and bar with numerous large-screen TVs for bettors to watch the games. The book features live wagering windows and self-service betting kiosks. FireKeepers partnered with SG Digital to provide the casino’s sports betting and eventually, iGaming platforms.
“FireKeepers guests now have the ability to bet on the biggest sporting events worldwide at Dacey’s Sportsbook, located in a restaurant and bar featuring the great food and craft beers Dacey’s Taphouse is known for,” Wise said at the time.
Dacey’s launch coincided with the opening of a new eight-story, 203-room second hotel tower at FireKeepers, joining the facility’s current hotel that has been recognized as an AAA Four Diamond award winner for the last five years.
“Today marked another significant step forward in FireKeepers history,” Kathy George, FireKeepers CEO, said in a news release about the two new additions to the casino. “Two memorable events in the same day reflects the great leadership of the tribe and their focus and support, maintaining FireKeepers position as a top regional U.S. gaming destination.”