Hollywood Casino at Greektown

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Hollywood Casino at Greektown
Hollywood Casino Greektown logo.png
Casino hotel skyscraper in Greektown
Location 555 East Lafayette Street
Detroit, Michigan
Opening dateNovember 10, 2000
No. of rooms400
Total gaming space100,000 sq ft (9,300 m2)
Notable restaurantsPrism
Bistro 555
Casino typeLand-based
OwnerVici Properties
Operating license holderPenn Entertainment
ArchitectPaul Steelman (casino)
Rossetti (hotel)
Previous namesGreektown Casino-Hotel (2000–2022)
Renovated in2017–2018

Hollywood Casino at Greektown, formerly Greektown Casino-Hotel, is a casino hotel in the Greektown neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan. It is owned by Vici Properties and operated by Penn Entertainment.

The casino opened in 2000, under the majority ownership of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. It was the only casino in Detroit controlled by a Native American tribe. In 2008, during the Great Recession, the casino went into bankruptcy and was sold.

Hollywood Casino is one of three casinos in the city; there is also a casino in nearby Windsor, Ontario. Detroit is one of the largest American cities to offer casino hotels.[1][2]

History and development[edit]

Shortly after the enactment of the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) in 1988, the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians began working with local developers Ted Gatzaros and Jim Papas to open a casino in Detroit.[3] In November 1992, they announced their plan publicly.[4] Under the plan, Gatzaros and Papas's company, 400 Monroe Associates, would donate a 0.7-acre (0.28 ha) parcel of land in Greektown to become part of the tribe's reservation, and the tribe would build and operate the casino.[4]

Detroit voters approved an advisory referendum in favor of the casino in August 1994, as well as another casino proposed to be built at Atwater Street.[5] The plan was approved by the Secretary of the Interior later that month.[6] However, it also needed approval from Michigan Governor John Engler, because the IGRA required gubernatorial approval for gaming on lands added to a tribe's reservation after 1988.[7] Engler rejected the casino, citing potential proliferation of off-reservation casinos throughout the state.[8]

The tribe next turned to the ballot initiative process. They partnered with the Atwater group to sponsor the Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act.[9][10] This law would allow up to three private, commercially operated casinos to be opened in Detroit.[9] It included a preference for proposals that had already been approved by Detroit voters, making the Greektown and Atwater projects the "presumptive choices" for two of the casino licenses.[11] The petition drive and election campaign were financed almost entirely by the Sault Tribe and Atwater.[12] Michigan voters approved the law in November 1996.[13]

The Greektown casino was one of eleven applications submitted to Detroit mayor Dennis Archer.[14] The $567-million proposal would include a temporary casino to open in 1998, followed by a permanent casino opening in 2000 with 128,170 square feet (11,907 m2) of gaming space and 1,000 hotel rooms.[14] The temporary casino was designed by architect Paul Steelman.[15][16] It would be managed by the Las Vegas-based Millennium Management Group.[17] In December 1997, Archer selected the Greektown proposal, along with the Atwater project (ultimately opened as MotorCity Casino Hotel) and the proposed MGM Grand Detroit.[18]

Construction of the casino began in January 1999.[19] It incorporated Trappers Alley, a vacant shopping center owned by Gatzaros and Papas, together with a new building.[14][20] Costs of the casino, originally estimated at $115 million, increased to $200 million.[19][21]

Ownership of the casino was to be split with 50 percent owned by the Sault Tribe, 40 percent by Gatzaros and Papas and their wives, and 10 percent by a group of local black investors.[22][23] However, gaming regulators found problems during Gatzaros and Papas's background checks, and they were effectively forced to sell their shares.[24] Negotiations were held with potential buyers including Millennium Management, Harrah's Entertainment, MGM Grand, and Park Place Entertainment.[25][26] Advanced talks were held on selling the shares to a group of union pension funds.[27] Ultimately, the tribe bought out the Gatzaroses and Papases' shares for $275 million, to be paid over 10 years.[28] The casino licensing was approved in September 2000, with the tribe owning a 90 percent stake.[21]

The Greektown Casino opened on November 10, 2000, following the two other casinos that opened the previous year.[29]

The tribe ended its management deal with Millennium in 2002 and assumed direct control of the casino.[30]

Development of the city's permanent casinos was delayed for years by protracted negotiations over the casinos' locations, and by a lawsuit over the constitutionality of the casino licensing process.[31][32] In 2002, Greektown agreed with the city to build its $450-million permanent facility on an 8-acre (3.2 ha) site at Interstate 375 and Gratiot Avenue.[31][33] In 2005, however, Greektown announced that it would expand at its current location instead of building a new facility.[31] The $200-million expansion would include a 400-room hotel, a parking garage, convention space, and more gaming space.[31]

In June 2006, site preparation began for the hotel. A city-owned parking garage was demolished to make way for redevelopment. Construction began in October 2006. The hotel tower rises 344 ft. (105 m.) with 30 floors. It opened November 15, 2007, and included a new 13-story, 3,500-space, free parking garage. In November 2008, 25,000 square feet (2,300 m2) of additional gaming space was completed and opened over Lafayette. Total gaming space comprised 100,000 square feet (9,300 m2). An expanded and re-designed VIP gaming area opened in February 2009. In November 2009, 25,000 square feet (2,300 m2) of convention space opened with a newly designed poker room.

Changes in ownership[edit]

By late 2007, the casino was in financial trouble, as its debt-to-equity ratio fell below the minimum threshold negotiated with the lenders who financed the expansion.[34][35][36] The state threatened to force a sale unless the casino could obtain new financing.[34] In May 2008, Greektown Casino filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to prevent the forced sale.[35][37]

In June 2010, a group of Greektown's bondholders, organized as Greektown Superholdings, Inc., bought the casino out of bankruptcy.[38][39] John Hancock Financial, OppenheimerFunds, Brigade Capital, and Solus Alternative Asset Management together owned 78% of the company.[38][40][41]

Rock Gaming, owned by Dan Gilbert, agreed in January 2013 to buy a majority stake in the Greektown Casino. This was part of Gilbert's plan of investment to help revitalize downtown Detroit.[42]

In February 2016, it was announced as part of Rock Gaming's rebranding as Jack Entertainment that the property would be renamed to Jack Detroit Casino–Hotel Greektown.[43][44] Plans for the name change were canceled in March 2018, as Gilbert was planning to sell the property and exit the casino business.[45]

In May 2019, Vici Properties and Penn National Gaming (now Penn Entertainment) jointly bought Greektown from Jack Entertainment. Vici paid $700 million for the real estate assets, while Penn National paid $300 million for the operating business. It leased the property from Vici for $56 million per year.[46][47]

In May 2022, the casino was rebranded under Penn National's primary brand, Hollywood Casino.[48] It also completed more than $30 million in Detroit-themed renovations that covered almost every area of this facility.[49] The ongoing renovation and remodeling process includes the remodeled VIP garage with over 700 spaces designed for high-rollers, the hotel lobby, and elevator lobbies. As of 2022, all 400 rooms are in the process of remodeling.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mink, Randy, and Karen Mink (July 2001). "Detroit Turns 300 – Detroit 300 Festival". Travel America, World Publishing Co., Gale Group.
  2. ^ "Review of Greektown Casino in Detroit — Review of Greektown Casino in Detroit". Detroit.about.com. 2013-11-13. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
  3. ^ Deborah Solomon (December 17, 1996). "Olympic gaming: Greek entrepreneurs gamble on entertainment complex". Detroit Free Press – via Newspapers.com. (Part 2 of article)
  4. ^ a b Jon Pepper (November 29, 1992). "All bets are on again: Indian casino proposed for Greektown". The Detroit News and Free Press – via Newspapers.com. (Part 2 of article)
  5. ^ Tina Lam (August 4, 1994). "Casinos need unlikely champion". Detroit Free Press – via Newspapers.com. (Part 2 of article)
  6. ^ Nancy Costello; Tina Lam (August 19, 1994). "OK for casinos won't hurry Engler". Detroit Free Press – via Newspapers.com. (Part 2 of article)
  7. ^ Tina Lam (September 9, 1994). "Engler rejects casino project for Greektown". Detroit Free Press – via Newspapers.com. (Part 2 of article)
  8. ^ Tina Lam (June 28, 1995). "Engler says no dice". Detroit Free Press – via Newspapers.com. (Part 2 of article)
  9. ^ a b Tina Lam (March 30, 1996). "Group will seek state vote to allow casinos in Detroit". The Detroit News and Free Press – via Newspapers.com. (Part 2 of article)
  10. ^ Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians v. Michigan Gaming Control Board (W.D. Mich. July 9, 2002).Text
  11. ^ Jennifer Dixon (November 13, 1996). "Casino battle likely to heat up". Detroit Free Press – via Newspapers.com. (Part 2 of article)
  12. ^ Jennifer Dixon (December 7, 1996). "Casino backers spent $5 million to win". Detroit Free Press – via Newspapers.com.
  13. ^ Tina Lam; Jennifer Dixon (November 7, 1996). "Downtown awaits construction noise". Detroit Free Press – via Newspapers.com. (Part 2 of article)
  14. ^ a b c Bill McGraw (August 22, 1997). "Detroit casino bidders offer hodgepodge of grand plans". Detroit Free Press – via Newspapers.com.
  15. ^ Tina Lam (December 20, 1996). "Developers plan casinos as centers of activity". Detroit Free Press – via Newspapers.com. (Part 2 of article)
  16. ^ Becky Yerak (May 9, 1999). "Group has lavish plans for Greektown Casino". Detroit Free Press – via Newspapers.com. (Part 2 of article)
  17. ^ Judy DeHaven (October 19, 1997). "Millennium brings clout to Greektown". Detroit Free Press – via Newspapers.com.
  18. ^ Bill McGraw; Darci McConnell; David Migoya (November 21, 1997). "Roll 'em". Detroit Free Press – via Newspapers.com. (Part 2 of article)
  19. ^ a b Bill McGraw (January 29, 1999). "Casino construction to start". Detroit Free Press – via Newspapers.com.
  20. ^ Tina Lam (October 9, 1999). "Mediterranean flair sets apart new casino". Detroit Free Press – via Newspapers.com. (Part 2 of article)
  21. ^ a b Tina Lam (September 6, 2000). "Greektown investors get green light". Detroit Free Press – via Newspapers.com.
  22. ^ Tina Lam (June 9, 2000). "Casino buyout saga has a new chapter: Tribe offers to buy the remaining 40%". Detroit Free Press – via Newspapers.com.
  23. ^ "Who owns Greektown Casino LLC". Detroit Free Press. January 17, 1999 – via Newspapers.com.
  24. ^ Tina Lam (December 10, 1999). "Casino partners may fold". Detroit Free Press – via Newspapers.com. (Part 2 of article)
  25. ^ Tina Lam (April 18, 2000). "3 bidders want piece of casino". Detroit Free Press – via Newspapers.com. (Part 2 of article)
  26. ^ "Casino opening delayed". Detroit Free Press. March 29, 2000 – via Newspapers.com.
  27. ^ Judy DeHaven (June 7, 2000). "4 buyers pull out of Greektown Casino deal". The Detroit News – via NewsBank.
  28. ^ Tina Lam (August 8, 2000). "2 Greektown couples bow out". Detroit Free Press – via Newspapers.com. (Part 2 of article)
  29. ^ Tina Lam; Maryanne George (November 11, 2000). "Greektown aglow for opening". Detroit Free Press – via Newspapers.com.
  30. ^ Michael H. Hodges (November 10, 2000). "Taking a gamble: A complete guide to Greektown Casino? You bet". The Detroit News – via NewsBank.
  31. ^ a b c d Nick Bunkley (September 13, 2005). "Greektown Casino will stay put". The Detroit News – via NewsBank.
  32. ^ Darci McConnell (March 27, 2002). "Mayor brokers Detroit casino deals in 70 days". The Detroit News – via NewsBank.
  33. ^ Cameron McWhirter; Darci McConnell (August 2, 2002). "Pivotal casino vote today". The Detroit News – via NewsBank.
  34. ^ a b Nathan Hurst (May 14, 2008). "Greektown Casino given until June 10 to avoid forced sale". The Detroit News – via NewsBank.
  35. ^ a b Nathan Hurst (May 31, 2008). "Greektown Casino files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy". The Detroit News – via NewsBank.
  36. ^ Joel J. Smith (November 16, 2005). "Casino financing approved". The Detroit News – via NewsBank.
  37. ^ Nathan Hurst (June 11, 2008). "No forced sale for Greektown Casino". The Detroit News – via NewsBank.
  38. ^ a b Jaclyn Trop (June 29, 2010). "Greektown gets new owners". The Detroit News – via NewsBank.
  39. ^ Form 10-K: Annual Report (Report). Greektown Superholdings. March 25, 2011. pp. 5–7 – via EDGAR.
  40. ^ Jaclyn Trop (June 9, 2010). "Greektown's bankruptcy exit faces new hurdle". The Detroit News – via NewsBank.
  41. ^ "John Hancock Advisers, LLC Announces Name Change of MFC Global Investment Management (U.S.), LLC" (Press release). John Hancock Financial. January 3, 2011. Retrieved 2022-07-01 – via PR Newswire.
  42. ^ Dave Davis (January 16, 2013). "Dan Gilbert to buy Detroit's Greektown Casino, a money-making and revitalization effort". The Plain Dealer. Cleveland. Retrieved 2012-01-17.
  43. ^ Martinez, Michael (23 February 2016). "Greektown Casino to be renamed 'Jack'". Detroit News. Retrieved 2016-02-25.
  44. ^ Bill Shea and Kirk Pinho (February 23, 2016). "Greektown Casino-Hotel to be renamed Jack Detroit Casino-Hotel Greektown". Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved 2016-02-25.
  45. ^ Dustin Walsh; Bill Shea (November 14, 2018). "Gilbert to sell Greektown Casino-Hotel for $1 billion". Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved 2018-12-29.
  46. ^ Kurt Nagl (May 24, 2019). "What's next after $1 billion sale of Greektown Casino-Hotel?". Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved 2019-05-26.
  47. ^ "Vici Properties Inc. completes acquisition of Greektown Casino-Hotel and lease to Penn National Gaming" (Press release). Vici Properties. May 23, 2019. Retrieved 2019-05-26 – via BusinessWire.
  48. ^ JC Reindl (April 25, 2022). "Greektown Casino-Hotel in line for a rebrand". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 2022-05-28.
  49. ^ "Hollywood Casino at Greektown revonations". Greektown Casino-Hotel Transitions to Hollywood Casino at Greektown. iGaming MI. March 20, 2022. Retrieved August 18, 2022.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°20′04″N 83°02′28″W / 42.33447°N 83.04117°W / 42.33447; -83.04117