Orange 25-cent Greektown casino chip

Greektown name still intact

Detroit’s Greektown Casino-Hotel, one of three casinos in the Motor City, is getting a name change. Fortunately, at least in this writer’s opinion, the “Greektown” moniker will remain, keeping intact one of the most unique and memorable casino names in the United States. On May 1, it will be rebranded Hollywood Casino at Greektown to mix in better with its owner Penn National Gaming’s popular Hollywood Casino brand.

“Becoming Hollywood Casino at Greektown will offer our guests the best of both worlds,” said John Drake, general manager of Hollywood Casino at Greektown, in Monday’s announcement. “We’re keeping all of the unique, neighborhood charm that has defined Greektown since we opened our doors, while adding several new amenities that come with being a part of Penn National’s flagship brand family.”

Brief history of Greektown Casino-Hotel

Greektown Casino-Hotel (or Hollywood Casino at Greektown, whatever we want to call it for the next few days) opened in 2000, named after the historic commercial and entertainment district where it is located. The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians originally held a majority stake in the property, but the tribe filed for bankruptcy during the recession of 2008. Greektown Superholdings, Inc. and Greektown Newco Sub Inc., proceeded to acquire the casino hotel.

Rock Gaming, owned by Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert, bought a majority stake in Greektown Casino in early 2013. Then, in 2018, Rock Gaming, at this point renamed to Jack Entertainment, sold the casino for $1 billion to Penn National Gaming and VICI Properties. Penn National paid $300 million for the operations of the casino, while VICI paid $700 million for the real estate.

Penn National recently plowed $30 million in to hotel renovations. The lobby has been revamped and the hotel’s 400 rooms will be remodeled.

I didn’t leave with nothing

Greektown Casino-Hotel holds a special place in my heart as the scene of one of my top gambling failures. I was on a business trip, visiting car parts manufacturers in the area for a job that I absolutely loathed. My consulting firm was a mess and my boss was a tyrant, but at least I had an evening to relax with a coworker.

We had dinner had a Greek restaurant (naturally), for some reason ordering a spread that was really meant for a large family. After stuffing ourselves to near-unconsciousness, we dragged our meat sweats over to the casino to take a look around. I wanted to play poker, but I also didn’t want to abandon my coworker for the rest of the night, so we sidled up to a blackjack table.

It was low stakes and I don’t remember how much money I started with, but without going into gory detail, I can show you how I did by directing you to the photo attached to this article. That was what I had left when I went back to my hotel room. I still have it as a souvenir, a reminder that while I can write about gambling, I shouldn’t partake in the activity too often.

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