In the last 10 years. Detroits's three casinos have made a permanent impression on the region's landscape, having served as both economic drivers and morale boosters that impact the way we see downtown. The new hotels and convention space the casinos are adding on are clearing the way for Detroit's next boon - conventions. To shed more light on Detroit's newest industry, we asked Detroit's three casinos:
Craig Ghelfi, CEO, Greektown Casino
Detroit's gaming industry will soon be a decade old. For most of those years, the three Detroit casinos have largely been "day trip" destinations. In other words, most of our guests would come in for part of a day and then head back to their homes. Why? Because the three casinos were "interim" operations with no attached hotels, limited food and entertainment options, and scant meeting and convention space.
But the game is changing. Detroit's casinos are opening 1,200 high-end hotel rooms (800 are already open), about 75,000 square feet of meeting and entertainment space and many new restaurants. We are opening spas, pools and other attractions that are transforming Detroit into a world-class gaming destination.
In the future Detroit's gaming industry will help bring more conferences and conventions to the city. In Michigan alone there are about 600 trade and professional associations mostly headquartered in Lansing. It is estimated that more than half hold regular meetings and annual conferences at resort locations across the state. Many seek locations with ready access to gaming entertainment. Right now, few of these associations meet in Detroit. That will change.
Attracting more meetings and conventions to the city also means more customers for surrounding businesses. Greektown Casino alone spends about $7 million annually with local restaurants and businesses, rewarding our guests with complementary meals and gifts, or "comps." It will also mean more business for Detroit-based businesses. The three Detroit casinos proudly purchase hundreds of millions of dollars in goods and services from Detroit-based, minority-owned, woman-owned, and small business enterprises.
Without question, Detroit is on the rebound, and the city's gaming industry will continue to be a catalyst and partner in our economic and entertainment transformation.
John Hutar, Vice President of Hotel Operations, MGM Grand Detroit
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