ROYAL OAK — No longer do you need to go directly to a casino to get the sportsbook experience in Michigan.
Emagine Entertainment opened up its first Emagine Sports Lounge right before 2021 closed at its movie theater complex in Royal Oak, with plans to open more in the months and years to come.
Michigan sports betting enthusiasts can now enjoy big screens and stadium seating while making their wagers.
What is the Emagine Sports Lounge?
Located at Emagine Royal Oak at 200 N Main St., the Emagine Sports Lounge is a movie theatre setup for sports betting.
The visual display is over two stories in height and 40 feet in width using LED screens and a 5.1 cinema sound system. Up to eight different sporting events can be on display at one time. A total of 56 seats are available each day.
Available on a first-come, first-serve basis, admission is free to the sports lounge. Patrons are welcomed with heated, leather, power-reclining seats that includes a table large enough to hold laptop computers and snacks.
The room is equipped with WIFI for patrons to use the betting app of their choice to place their wagers. Servers are on hand to take any food or drink orders as well.
“Our whole idea was to reimagine the sports bar. It doesn’t necessarily need to be uncomfortable bar barstools,” Anthony LaVerde, CEO of Emagine Entertainment, said. “We wanted to bring Vegas directly to this to our guests. The screens are a sight to be seen with LEDs and 4k projection across 40 feet of screens.”
Emagine will have a focus on in-state sports each night, but also include the major national events. For a list of what will be playing each night, visit the Sports Lounge page.
To be clear, there are no betting counters or kiosks at the sports lounge. Visitors are free to use their mobile sports betting app at the converted theater.
Royal Oak is first of several planned locations
Emagine Royal Oak is the first to kick off this new venture, but Emagine has plans to expand the idea to other locations throughout Michigan.
“I would love to see it at every location. But certainly all of our larger facilities,” LaVerde said. “Royal Oak is the closest to Detroit and just has really great demographics when we looked at most likely sports gamblers in the metropolitan area that would be interested in something like this. Royal Oak really checked every box. So it was the ideal facility to try it out and see if it worked. Thus far, it’s been spectacular.”
Emagine had the wheels in motion to start the Sports Lounge once sports betting was launched in Michigan prior to the pandemic. While things were understandably slowed down because of COVID-19, Emagine never lost sight of the idea.
“It actually had been a concept we were working on pre-COVID, and because of the pandemic, cash was precious as we were shut down, so we actually put the project on hold,” LaVerde said. “Then as governmental agencies allowed our business to reopen, we picked the project back up and completed construction roughly a month ago.”
Private reservations available at Emagine Sports Lounge
Already, private party reservations at the Sports Lounge are starting to stack up after the Dec. 30, 2021, opening.
The first came on its second day of operation for the Orange Bowl featuring Michigan and Georgia. LaVerde said some days for the NCAA Tournament have already been booked as well.
With NFL playoffs set to begin this weekend, it’s never to soon to consider Super Bowl party options.
“We think it’s the ideal place to watch the Super Bowl and not have to worry about cleaning up after yourself,” LaVerde said.
If interested in a private rental, visit Emagine’s host events page.
Sports Betting sponsorship in the works
While patrons are currently free to use any sports betting app of their choosing, LaVerde is confident a partnership will come soon.
“I would expect an announcement soon on some naming rights. As we go more out, I would expect something fairly soon on some naming rights. I think it eventually would be a sponsorship or a co-branding agreement as we build more,” he said. “Emagine serves over 11 million guests a year. That’s an attractive opportunity to generate additional users on anybody’s gambling app.”