Dow Event Center Cashless Policy Facing Pushback

EDIT: This story has been updated to better reflect the timeline of events.


The Dow Event Center in Saginaw is seeing some backlash from its decision to go cashless.

The decision to go cashless was made by the center’s new management last year and was announced in August. It initially had a start date of September 1, though the new policy was delayed to this Thursday. Only credit cards and debit cards will be accepted at all points of purchase, including parking.

The entertainment venue, home of the Saginaw Spirit and countless other events like the Shriner’s Circus, concerts and more, is also implementing a clear bag policy on Thursday, only allowing clear bags into the building as a security precaution. According to the Dow Event Center website:

“Small clutches no larger than 4.5″ x 6.5″ x 2″ and clear, one-gallon bags for medical or parenting needs will be permitted.

No bags, backpacks or purses, other than those required for medical or parenting needs, will be permitted into the venue.

Bags in the medical/essential category will be screened by security personnel. Guests with parenting/medical bags must enter through the main entrance of the building to undergo additional security screening.””

At least one business which operated within the center decided to leave over the new policy. Olvera’s Texas Pit and Bar B-Q mentioned in a recent Facebook post it disagreed with the cashless policy and has pulled it’s business from the building.

Officials with The Dow say Olvera’s hasn’t been a vendor at the center for more than a year and weren’t invited to be vendor this year.

In June, the Detroit City Council passed an ordinance requiring businesses like Comerica Park and Little Caesar’s Arena to accept cash as payment after those venues went cashless. The argument against going cashless is that for many residents, credit or debit transactions are simply not an option, leaving many unbanked residents unable to attend certain events or shop certain businesses, thus resulting in a type of discrimination.