Casino Operator In Violation, Detroit Says

City leaders in Detroit claim Rock Gaming violated a gaming regulation in taking over the Greektown casino hotel (l.). The company bought the distressed property last year.

Rock Gaming, owned by the founder of Quicken Loans, Dan Gilbert, is in violation because it bypassed a city gaming regulation last year as Gilbert took over the Greektown Casino-Hotel, Detroit’s least profitable facility. There are three casinos in the city. Gilbert obtained a gaming license last spring. 

The matter was brought to the attention of city officials in 2013 as a gaming tax revenue report came out in August. The report did not indicate the mayor or council had approved a transfer of ownership.

In Detroit, a city ordinance provides for government to approve or disapprove anyone other than designated developers to operate casinos. In other words, if a casino property is for sale, the city must approve the sale in order for it to take place. The regulation allows the city to control development and casino amenities. 

City Council President, Brenda Jones, said the council has been discussing Greektown since last year. A research division established by the council said last September that although Gilbert obtained a license, he didn’t follow the ordinance.

The budget committee also requested a report on Greektown from the city’s then mayor, Dave Bing. Greektown stayed on the committee’s list and was reported to the new council members this year.

Several divisions are looking into the issue. Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, the Law Department and the Economic Development Committee are reviewing the case. In Michigan, emergency managers are lawfully authorized to repair financial crises.