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Detroit casinos close poker rooms amid strikes

Detroit casinos close poker rooms amid strikes

Detroit’s casino workers are striking for more money, leading to chaos in the poker rooms

Three Detroit casinos have temporarily closed their poker rooms after 3,700 employees went on strike. The venues will remain in operation while the strike continues, but the poker rooms at the MGM Grand Detroit and MotorCity Casino have been closed temporarily. A representative from the Hollywood Casino in Greektown indicated that the walkout hadn’t affected its poker room.

The striking employees are represented by the Detroit Casino Council, an organization that handles negotiations for five labor unions representing Detroit casino workers. The walkout includes dealers, engineers, food service employees, and other positions at the three casinos.

Employees seek higher wages and better healthcare and want to see the venues return staffing to pre-pandemic levels. Negotiations have been going on between the two sides since September before the three-year extension to the initial five-year deal expired last Tuesday. Workers decided to strike when no agreement was achieved by the deadline.

The contract extension was settled when casinos were pressured to stay in operation at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Employees indicated that earnings are back to pre-pandemic levels, mainly since iGaming has been operating in the state.

“In 2022, the Detroit casino industry generated $2.27 billion in gaming revenue and is on track for another record-breaking year in 2023,” said the Detroit Casino Council in a news release. “The three Detroit casinos collectively reported $813 million more in total gaming revenues in 2022 than in 2019, but total wages paid to workers represented by the DCC were $34 million less when comparing those same years.”

The Culinary Union also approved a strike for 40,000 Las Vegas workers in September while negotiations continue under the threat of a walkout at Caesars, MGM and Wynn properties.

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