Michigan casinos lower gambling age to 18, alcohol not included
Posted on: March 30, 2022, 12:50 p.m.
Last update: March 30, 2022, 1:23 a.m.
Michigan casinos owned and operated by the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians will soon be open to anyone 18 and older.
The federally recognized tribe says its decision to lower its gambling age is authorized under its Class III gambling pact with the state of Michigan. As sovereign entities, tribes are free to determine their own laws on certain vices, such as minimum gambling ages.
The Sault Tribe Class III Compact allows for tribal play involving anyone 18 years of age or older. Prior to this week’s announcement, the tribe’s five Kewadin Casino locations were only accessible to people aged 19 and over.
The decision to lower the gambling age to 18 is a move that gives all legal adults access to our gambling properties,” said Allen Kerridge, CEO of Kewadin Casinos.
Kerridge explained that the decision is to allow tribal casinos to better compete with other tribal casinos in Michigan that have already lowered their entry age to 18. Michigan.
Kewadin Casinos implemented the new minimum gambling age today, March 30. All five casinos are located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The largest is the Kewadin Casino Sault Ste. Marie, which has over 800 slot machines and a 319-room hotel.
Sovereign tribes are exempt from adhering to many state laws and mandates. And that has never been more evident than during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2020, as the coronavirus spread across the United States and around the world, tribal casinos in Michigan closed their own deals. Sovereign gaming businesses were not imposed by a higher authority, as they fall outside the legal scope of Governor’s Orders.
But tribal casinos haven’t been closed as long as Detroit’s three commercial casinos, which Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) kept closed from mid-March to mid-December 2020.
Welcoming patrons 18 and older could give tribal casinos a slight competitive advantage over Detroit casinos, which are mandated by law to only allow entry to those ages 21 and older.
Although the 18-21 demographic is not exactly a coveted segment for casinos, as young adults have limited disposable income, legal sports betting has been heavily embraced by millennials. in their early 20s to enter their casinos could also allow Kewadin to secure these customers for future business by enrolling them in the tribe’s loyalty rewards program.
Alcohol is one of the main issues facing tribal casinos that allow customers under the age of 21. While sovereign tribes can allow people under 21 to gamble, they cannot allow them to drink alcohol.
Federal laws require federally recognized tribes to adhere to state liquor laws on their reservations.
In its press release announcing its lowered gambling age, Kewadin Casinos stated that its servers and bartenders are properly trained through the Michigan TIPS training and certification program.
TIPS — or Training for Intervention Procedures — teaches restaurant employees who come into contact with customers what steps to take to prevent customer intoxication. The program further trains participants with the knowledge necessary to prevent underage drinking.