When Did Motor City Casino Open: A Look Back at Detroit’s Iconic Landmark


The Motor City Casino is one of Detroit’s most iconic landmarks, standing tall as a beacon of entertainment and an economic powerhouse. For many, Motor City Casino is the go-to destination for gambling, dining, and entertainment. However, one question that often comes to mind – When did Motor City Casino open? In this article, we will take a trip down memory lane and explore the history of this iconic Detroit landmark.

A brief history of the Motor City Casino: When did it Open and Why?

Motor City Casino officially opened its doors to the public on December 14, 1999. It was established as part of a statewide initiative to legalize gambling in the state of Michigan. The idea was to create new revenue streams by establishing gambling destinations in the state that would attract tourists as well as provide entertainment for locals. Motor City Casino was also established to help revitalize Detroit’s economy, which had been in decline for many years.

It is a casino with a 100,000 square-foot gaming area that houses nearly 3,000 slot machines, more than 60 table games, and a poker room. It has several restaurants, lounges, and a 13,000 square-foot spa. Motor City Casino also has a 1,200-seat theatre that is well-known for hosting performances by some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, including Diana Ross, Tony Bennett, and Smokey Robinson.

From humble beginnings to iconic Detroit landmark: How the Motor City Casino Came to Be

The idea to establish the Motor City Casino was first proposed in the 1990s by the Ilitch family, who own the Detroit Red Wings and Little Caesars Pizza. The proposal was met with mixed reactions, with some expressing concerns about the social implications of gambling. However, the Ilitch family remained committed to their vision, and after several years of planning and negotiations, the Motor City Casino was finally established.

The construction of the casino was not without its challenges. There were disagreements between the Ilitch family and the city of Detroit over various aspects of the project, including zoning regulations and tax incentives. However, after much back and forth, the two parties were able to come to an agreement, and construction of the casino began in earnest.

The grand opening of the Motor City Casino: A Look Back at Detroit’s Biggest Celebration of 1999

The grand opening of the Motor City Casino was a momentous occasion, with thousands of people turning up to witness the event. The opening ceremony was attended by several notable guests, including Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer and Michigan Governor John Engler. The ceremony was also marked by performances by several musicians, including Aretha Franklin and Patti LaBelle.

Following the opening ceremony, guests were treated to a lavish party inside the casino, with free drinks, food, and entertainment. It was truly a night to remember, and the Motor City Casino quickly became the hottest spot in town, attracting visitors from all over the country.

“The Place to Be”: How Motor City Casino’s Opening Signaled a Revitalization of Detroit’s Economy

The opening of the Motor City Casino was a turning point for Detroit’s economy, which had been struggling for many years. The casino created over 2,000 jobs and generated millions of dollars in tax revenues for the city. It also helped to attract tourists to the city, boosting the local economy further.

Since its opening, Motor City Casino has remained a significant economic contributor to Detroit’s economy. In 2018, the casino reported a revenue of $479.7 million, according to the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

A Journey Through Time: Reflecting on the Past, Present, and Future of Motor City Casino 20 years after its Opening

Today, the Motor City Casino remains one of Detroit’s most iconic landmarks. It has undergone several renovations and upgrades since its opening, with the most recent being a $9 million investment in its food offerings. The casino continues to attract visitors from all over the country and serves as a reminder that Detroit is a city that can overcome challenges and emerge stronger than ever.

As we look to the future, it is clear that Motor City Casino will continue to be an important part of Detroit’s economy and cultural landscape. The casino’s continued success is a testament to the vision of the Ilitch family and the resilience of Detroit’s community.


In conclusion, the opening of Motor City Casino was a significant moment in Detroit’s history. It marked a turning point for the city’s economy, providing much-needed jobs and revenue. As we have seen, the casino has come a long way since its opening and has remained a vital part of Detroit’s economy and cultural landscape. Knowing when Motor City Casino opened is essential, especially for those who wish to truly understand the city’s history. We hope that this article has provided some insights into the fascinating history of this iconic Detroit landmark.

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