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MGM Grand Detroit Casino

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2005–2007, Hamilton Anderson Associates/SmithGroup; Laurence Lee Associates, interior designer. 1777 3rd St.
  • (Photograph by Balthazar Korab)

Visible from the John C. Lodge Freeway, the massively flamboyant Las Vegas–style hotel tower of MGM Grand Detroit Casino lures gamblers into the casino on its downtown urban site. The casino is owned by MGM Grand Detroit LLC, the majority owner of which is MGM Mirage. It is one of sixteen gambling casinos statewide and one of three in Detroit.

In 1996 voters approved Proposal E authorizing the development of up to three licensed commercial casinos in Detroit. It took effect as law as the Michigan Gaming Control and Revenue Act. MGM Grand Detroit Casino was licensed in 1999. MGM Mirage rushed to open immediately, in 1999, in temporary quarters in a former Internal Revenue Service building. With haste it made plans to invest $800 million in this permanent casino. The investment seemed sound because, as The Wall Street Journal for September 26, 2008, observed, gambling companies can turn profits in sluggish economies. MGM Grand Detroit outdoes the other casinos and establishes MGM Mirage as the dominant gambling presence in the region. The Detroit casino is related to the Mirage, Las Vegas.

This neo–Art Deco creation was built in the style of the “new” Las Vegas with cutting-edge architecture and subtle luxury. That is, it is without flimsy, colorful Disney-like reference. The slick chrome and glass angular-shaped (boomerang-shaped) hotel tower rests on a precast-concrete base that resembles limestone and contains the sprawling casino complex. Above its twenty-five-acre footprint it contains altogether 1.1 million square feet of space with 100,000 square feet devoted entirely to gaming. An eighteen-story, four-hundred-room luxury hotel suitable for conferences and conventions shares the interior with a twelve-hundred-seat theater/ballroom, luxury restaurants, five nightclubs, pool and spa, and fifteen-hundred-spot valet parking.

In 2006 adjusted gross receipts for the three Detroit gambling casinos were $1.3 billion and state wagering taxes were $160 million. The casino created thirty-five hundred jobs, generates tax revenue for the city and the state, and attracts tourist dollars from Michigan and elsewhere.

Writing Credits

Kathryn Bishop Eckert


What's Nearby


Kathryn Bishop Eckert, "MGM Grand Detroit Casino", [Detroit, Michigan], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Michigan

Buildings of Michigan, Kathryn Bishop Eckert. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 74-75.

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