With new MGM Grand Casino-Hotel, can Detroit become a golf and gambling destination?
Detroit has had three temporary casinos since the late 1990s, but its first full-blown casino-hotel opened opened this week at the new MGM Grand. Building permanent, Vegas-style casino-hotels have always been the master plan and in 2007 its finally coming to fruition.
There are three casinos downtown, the Greektown Casino and Motor City Casino being the other two (they will open permanent casino-hotels next fall). It was all part of a desperate plan to try and revitalize the gloomy downtown that saw its population - and money - head towards Oakland County over the last two decades.
But there are signs of life. The Tigers’ recent success at Comerica Park downtown has brought millions of fans to the city the past two summers and some are actually sticking around after the game - not darting straight back to Suburbia.
In a city that has lost a lot of jobs and hope in recent years, there is a ray of light for the city that put America on wheels.
Can Detroit become a golf and gaming destination like Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Niagara or Biloxi? It’s possible. Metro Detroit has tons of courses within about 20 minutes of the casinos. The top dozen or so are as good as anywhere.
One smart venture in particular would be for MGM-Mirage to team up with the private TPC Dearborn (the former host to the Senior Players Championship) and offer exclusive play to all hotel guests, much like the Beau Rivage does with Fallen Oak in Biloxi. There are numerous other struggling but very good private clubs that should open their doors for stay-and-play packages as well.
Someone could even sweet talk Oakland Hills into allowing some stay-and-plays…
I’m not stoned off on cough syrup when I say this: if Detroit played its cards right (no pun intended), it could be marketed as a bon-a-fide golf and gambling destination - May thru September at least. Hopeful as Jon Kitna 10-6 prediction, I know. But if the Lions can make a run for the playoffs, anything can happen.
It’s as good of an idea as any to help restore the D. The only way casinos can help - not hurt a struggling economy is by bringing in outside tourist money. That’s something in all my visits to the Detroit casinos I haven’t seen yet, just locals stopping by after work to drop paychecks (or sometimes bus loads of seniors from Ohio to play nickel slots). The permanent casino-hotels promise to change that.
The Detroit casinos are also probably the roughest I’ve seen. I’ve been witness to scores of heated table altercations and even a fist fight (well the dude did split 10s…). Outside Greektown Casino, bums are everywhere trying to get a piece of a gracious winner. Motor City Casino is in the middle of The Hood.
We’ll see if the “Hip-hop Mayor” Kwame Kilpatrick and his boys can get it done and restore D-Town - or if our only hope lies in Matt Millen and the Lions…
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The chances of Detroit becoming a gambling and golf destination are between slim and none
I am reasonably familiar with the Detroit area and its traffic. There is absolutely no way that any of the golf courses you mentioned could be reached from the area of the casinos in "twenty minutes or so." More like 45 minutes to an hour or more.
Check out the room tariff at the Detroit MGM.
$300 to $500 per night exclusive of tax.
Those two things coupled with the weather concerns are insurmountable. Comparing Detroit to the Biloxi area is like comparing a broken down draft horse to Secretariat.
Room rates and green fees on the MS Gulf course are less than half of those demanded in Detroit.
Detroit will be a gamblig and golf mecca when Cleveland, Erie and Buffalo become the Lake Erie riviera.
I can get from Ann Arbor to the Windsor tunnel from I-94 in 45 minutes - not during rush hour, obviously. The courses I listed are far closer than Ann Arbor.
Those room rates seem pretty high...they should go down once the initial "buzz" lowers.
According to mapquest, your time of 45 minutes from Ann Arbor to downtown Detroit was right on the money, 45 minutes. The times for the golf courses you mentioned were mostly in the range of 40 to 60 minutes, the only ones being below 40 were Oakland Hills(30), Northville(33), Rochester Hills(33), and Auburn Hills(36).
My point is that besides the area around the casinos being less than desirable, the courses are simply to far from the casinos.
Before Hurricane Katrina, I made three golfing and gaming trips to the Mississippi Coast.
Our hotels were at most ten minutes from the golf, and the gambling was more relaxed and infinitely better than that in Detroit.
And the weather. the sea, the palm trees and live oaks---well. it's simply no comparison.
I think the TPC Dearborn is pretty close if I'm not mistaken, I know Oakland Hills is a long-shot.
I just got back from Biloxi myself, definitely more laid-back. I never worried about getting punched in the face at a gaming table there.
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