After Blizzard-like Conditions, Gun Lake Casino Reopens to Michigan Customers

Jessica Aletor
Jessica Aletor


  • Extreme weather conditions forced Gun Lake Casino to close on Friday.
  • This decision was suddenly reached after 25 people were reported dead due to the harsh winter across the country.
  • The casino finally reopened on Sunday after weather conditions stabilized in the state.

Severe weather circumstances swept through West Michigan in the early hours of Friday, the 23rd of December, 2022. The blizzard caused several business in the region, including Gun Lake Casino, to shut down operations temporarily. Its impact on transport in the state was also strongly felt, bringing many pre-festive journeys to a halt. However, as the heavy snow and blizzard subsided, the casino wasted no time to announce its resumption to business, just in time for the Christmas Day gambling activities.

Gun Lake Casino Announced Closure Amid Heavy Snow and Blizzard

Throughout the US, weather reports on Friday were unfavorable for business, forcing lots of offices to lock their on-site centers for the weekend. Gun Lake Casino was one of the many gambling centers forced to make that decision in Michigan. The casino closed on Friday, after a blizzard rocked the region, alongside huge snowfall and heavy winds.

Located in Wayland, off US Route 131, the casino shut down operations at about 7pm after unusually extreme weather restricted vehicular access on Exit 61, close to the casino center. Visibility was impaired along all routes to the casino and this informed the emergency closure. Guests and employees were advised to remain in their homes pending the stability of weather conditions.

The casino first closed its Craft Bar Kitchen, Shkode’ and Harvest Buffet due to the inclement weather. However, its Sportsbar and Lounge remained accessible to the public for sports betting before a final shut down a few hours after.

In a Twitter statement released on Friday afternoon, the casino stated that “For the safety of our Guests and Team Members, Gun Lake Casino will be closing to the public Friday, December 23 at 7PM. We will be re-opening Sunday, December 25, at 10 AM.”

Further commenting on the development, the casino’s authorities noted that “The safety of guests and team members is the top priority due to the blizzard-like conditions present throughout the region.”

This news came just days after the casino announced the re-opening of its poker rooms after a two-year closure, due to the pandemic. After the most recent closure, the casino also revealed that promotional drawings scheduled for the Christmas period have been postponed and new dates would be announced subsequently.

Casino Reopens Its Doors on Christmas Day and Resumes Regular Operations

Weather conditions in Michigan began to stabilize after Friday, with the earliest improvement coming on Christmas Eve. Wind gusts trickled down to about 10 km/h and became completely calm in the early hours on Sunday. Although snowfall was still prevalent, the weather was good enough for land transport, and also for many businesses to resume.

True to its announcement, Gun Lake Casino reopened its Michigan Tribal Casino to the public at 10am on Sunday, December 25. It also resumed regular operations, following its normal timelines and audience capacity.

Gun Lake Casino’s resumption comes just right on time for the Christmas gambling activity which sees hundreds of clients visit the tribal casino. Promotional drawings are also set to resume as soon as possible.

Blizzard Had Huge Impact on Inter-State Travel and On-Site Gambling Activities

A similar event occurred in the Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino far away in New York. The casino closed operations also on December 23, due to blizzard-like conditions that caused the death of about 40 people in the state. Guests and employees were ushered out at about 1pm on Friday to allow the complex close.

Unlike Gun Lake Casino, Seneca Buffalo Creek was closed for up to six days due to rising storms and the driving ban by municipal authorities. The casino finally opened on Tuesday December 29 after weather conditions became normal.

Inter-state travel was also affected due to harsh atmosphere. Gun Lake Casino officials made this known in a statement, saying “It is also noted that large sections of U.S. 131 have been closed.” These roads included the Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, which are close to Gun Lake Casino’s location in Wayland.

Flights were also delayed nationally due to the conditions. A total of 3,487 flights were canceled only on Christmas eve, while the day before, over 5,900 flights were cancelled on the grounds of weather conditions. As conditions have now stabilized, it is expected that casinos and bookmakers, within and outside Michigan will resume operations to full capacity into the new year.

Jessica is a news contributor to Gamble Online Michigan. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics but has over three years of experience working in the hospitality and gambling industry. Despite her core finance and investment banking background, she has been a casino feature writer for N1 Interactive Limited and multiple gambling affiliate sites. Her work has been featured on the bet365 blog, and Max Force Racing. She spends her time between Michigan and California, staying up-to-date on the latest industry developments