Can You Smoke in Detroit Casinos? 2024 Update

Arsenii Anderson
Smoking in Detroit Casinos

Smoking in casinos has always been a hot topic, and the issue has been given even more attention with various developments in public safety since the COVID-19 pandemic. Smokers typically feel that their right to smoke on the gaming floor is part of their casino experience with “is smoking allowed in Michigan casinos” being one of the most popular search requests, whereas non-smoking patrons and casino staff find secondhand smoke both a nuisance and a serious health concern. Michigan has over 16,000 casino employees, many of whom, such as dealers, waitstaff, and cleaners, may be subject to secondhand smoke during a typical shift.

At the moment, there is no real legal momentum behind a smoking ban, as we see New Jersey, with many casinos returning to their pre-COVID smoking policies. That said, there is more of a push for a ban than before the temporary COVID measures, with some guests and staff members wondering why casinos have stepped back in reallowing smoking on the casino floor.

Is Smoking Allowed in Detroit’s Casinos?

With the temporary smoking bans placed on casinos during the pandemic now lifted, Detroit’s three casinos are once again eligible to allow indoor public smoking on the gaming floor, in accordance with the casino gaming floor exemption made in Michigan’s Smoke-Free Indoor Air Law.

The Smoke-Free Indoor Air Law casino exemption is only valid for the casino floor. Other spaces in the casino must remain smoke-free and follow regular guidance. Each Detroit casino’s smoking policy is essentially up to them, so long as smoking areas are on the gaming floor.

Can You Smoke at MGM Detroit?

The MGM Grand smoking policy accommodates two dedicated smoking areas, Smoking Slots East and Smoking Slots West. The two smoking areas are slots only, eliminating the need for dealers and reducing the number of staff members required to operate in smoke. The areas are also separated by doors, minimizing the amount of smoke leaving the area.

Players must be actively playing slots to be allowed to smoke in the area, and those simply looking to light up and pass some time must head to the regular outdoor smoking patio. So it’s not just about “can you smoke in Michigan casinos?”, it’s about “what do you need to do to be allowed to smoke in a casino?”.

Can You Smoke in Greektown Casino?

Perhaps the most smoke-friendly casino in Detroit, the Greektown Casino smoking policy allows for smoking on the majority of the second-floor gaming space. There is a small open-air non-smoking section on the second floor, though guests will still have to make their way through a smoke-filled environment to reach the Barstool Sportsbook lounge.

Can You Smoke in MotorCity Casino?

MotorCity is the only of Detroit’s three casinos to completely prohibit smoking across its entire property, including the gaming floor.

The casino has kept its smoking ban set during the COVID-19 pandemic, and as the only non-smoking casino in the city, MotorCity could potentially attract a clientele looking for exactly that environment.

What Do the Patrons Think?

It’s a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to what patrons want at the casino. Naturally, smokers are more inclined to visit casinos that allow smoking, whereas non-smokers typically see smoking indoors as a net negative for themselves and sometimes the staff.

According to reviews left by real Michigan patrons on sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp, guests are more likely to find the smoke a nuisance. This might be due to the fact that they can simply walk away from smokey areas, something staff cannot do.

AC Casino regular John Bucek enjoyed the mandated smoking ban and feels his experience in smoking casinos is now worse for the smoke. Many more like John may be looking for non-smoking casinos to get their fill in the future.

Health Risks and Concerns

According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers, state-of-the-art ventilation does not completely eliminate health risks. They state:

There is currently no available or reasonably anticipated ventilation or air-cleaning system that can effectively control or significantly reduce the health risks of environmental tobacco smoke to an acceptable level.

American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers Professional association

Even when smoking areas are placed separately from non-smoking areas, the drift of smoke and smell can still easily make its way around the entire property, meaning casinos that allow smoking, even on a small portion of the casino floor, is essentially off-limits to pregnant women and those with serious pre-existing respiratory problems.

Casino Employees Against Smoking Effects (CEASE), an anti-smoking non-profit in NJ, drew comparisons between the smokey air caused by wildfires to that of a casino floor.

Weeks like this are a stark reminder that too many Atlantic City casino workers are forced to breathe dangerous secondhand smoke at work. Smoking isn’t allowed on the beach or boardwalk, but smokers are welcome to smoke inside the casinos. As we work with smokers only a few feet away from us, we usually look forward to stepping outside on breaks for a breath of fresh air. Unfortunately, the air quality outside today is not much better than what we get inside the casinos.

Casino Employees Against Smoking Effects (CEASE) Anti-smoking non-profit organization

Is Allowing Smoking Good for a Casino?

The fact is that allowing smoking in casinos is generally considered good for business, and historically, in places where smoking has been banned, there have been sharp declines in revenue. That said, new studies have shown that after the pandemic, non-smoking patrons are less likely to put up with smoke after experiencing smoke-free play.

One study suggests that going smoke-free might actually boost casino revenue. The report, which was not sponsored by any outside party, says, “Data from multiple jurisdictions clearly indicates that banning smoking no longer causes a dramatic drop in gaming revenue.” It adds, “In fact, non-smoking properties appear to be performing better than their counterparts that continue to allow smoking.”

As of the time of writing, there are 13 casinos that allow smoking in Michigan.


Can you smoke in Detroit casinos?

Smoking on the gaming floor is allowed in MGM Grand Detroit and Hollywood Casino at Greektown in certain areas on the gaming floor. MotorCity Casino is smoke-free across the entire casino, with the only smoking areas found outside. Essentially, each Detroit casino’s smoking policy is up to them when it comes to the casino floor.

Is there a smoking ban in Michigan casinos?

Smoking is currently allowed by law on the casino floor in each of Michigan’s casinos, including the three Detroit-based casinos. This is due to an exemption in Michigan’s Smoke-Free Indoor Air Law that allows casinos and certain other retail establishments to continue offering indoor smoking in some capacity. Even though smoking is legal on the casino floor, 12 of Michigan’s 28 casinos are entirely smoke-free indoors.

Are there smoke-free casinos in Michigan?

Yes, there are 11 Indian casinos in Michigan that are smoke-free, as well as MotorCity Casino in Detroit. While each of these casinos prohibits indoor smoking, there are still designated smoking areas outside.

Did COVID-19 change casino smoking policies in Michigan?

Although initially, all three casinos in Detroit reopened entirely smoke-free, MGM Grand Detroit and Hollywood Casino at Greektown soon reverted back to having smoking sections, although these sections were modified slightly. MotorCity Casino continued to be smoke-free after Covid-related smoking restrictions were lifted. For instance, even though COVID-related smoking restrictions were lifted, the MotorCity Casino smoking ban remained active.

Can you smoke in tribal casinos in Michigan?

There are 25 tribal casinos in Michigan at the moment. 11 of them are smoke-free and the rest allow smoking at the gaming floor or have dedicated smoking spaces.

Is Greektown casino smoke-free?

No, Greektown casino is not completely smoke-free — there are sections of the gaming floor where smoking is allowed.

Does MGM Grand Detroit allow smoking at premises?

Yes, MGM Grand Detroit is one of two Detroit casinos where the smoking ban was lifted after the COVID-19 pandemic.

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