Monday, October 15, 2007

MGM Grand Detroit Trip Report

Taking advantage of our fall "study" break, me and five of my fellow University of Michigan Law Students decided to support the Michigan and downtown Detroit economy last night by heading to the brand new, $700 million+ MGM Grand Casino in Detroit. And we came away very impressed, and not just because practically all of us came home with more money than we started with (although with my $100 gain, and two buddies of mine winning $300 and $400 respectively playing blackjack, it was a very profitable evening).

MGM was going for Las Vegas ambiance in downtown Detroit, and they certainly delivered on that, with a hotel/casino which easily would belong on the Las Vegas Strip. It made MGM's temporary casino look like just that, and it was obvious that the company wanted to put together a first class establishment. Just rows and rows and rows of slot machines too. And HD video-poker machines. HD. Gotta love that.

And it was jammed too, extraordinarily busy. We arrived close to 9:00 on a Sunday night, and the place was hopping. We were hoping, although the casino just opened to the public two weeks ago, that a Sunday night may be a bit calmer, allow us to play some $10 hands of blackjack. No such luck. While the casino had more slot machines than many Vegas casinos, the table games, I thought, weren't as plentiful as I would have thought. Every blackjack table was full, and while we eventually were able to find an open seat at a $20 table (and at one point, after waiting long enough, we were able to have all of us sit down at the same table) it was a madhouse. And interestingly, though this never affected me, when they raise the table limits, you don't get "grandfathered" in, as everyone at the table, not just newcomers, have to play at the higher rate. A lot of casinos will let those at the table continue to play at the original limit. I found that sort of odd.

The restaurants looked interesting, and some buddies of mine stopped at an upscale food court of sorts when we were done gambling, but had to wait in a long line as MGM had closed most of the stations by midnight. While midnight on a Sunday may not seem like a busy time, it was, and by the time we left, the line for the only remaining station spilled out onto the casino floor. You would think the casino would know how busy they were going to be, especially in the casinos opening weeks, and keep the restaurants open to accommodate their guests.

Overall though, the casino is big, bright, and hopefully will be a big addition for the city of Detroit. Though, with it's convenient right on, right off the freeway location, I feel like a lot of people will do what we did last night, and that's come downtown to the casino, gamble, and drive back to where they came from. Especially since there are no restaurants or bars within walking distance of the casino. The casino itself though is a nice attraction. Now all they need to do is ban smoking, like at Casino Windsor (now Caesars Windsor) and we'd be all set.

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