The playoff run of the Detroit Lions has taken over the state of Michigan. And it is having a significant economic impact on Detroit, including the city’s three casinos.
Dedicated Lions fans have finally had a chance to embrace success for the franchise for the first time in decades.
Lions fever is taking over the state in terms of fandom, but it’s also boosting the fortunes of the casinos. And the three casinos tell PlayMichigan that they have been welcoming Lions fans in with open arms in recent weeks.
Casino foot traffic up for Lions playoff run
According to East Lansing-based economic consulting firm Anderson Economic Group, LLC., the economic impact of last Sunday’s playoff game with Tampa Bay should exceed $50 million for Detroit.
Along with the ticket sales and money generated at Ford Field through the game, the added revenue generated at Detroit businesses increases significantly as well.
Among them are the Detroit casinos, which have been seeing increased foot traffic on playoff weekends.
“It’s been great for the casino in terms of the volume that people get to come down and experience our property,” Robert Giles, Director of Player Development at Hollywood Casino at Greektown told PlayMichigan.
“We have a lot of new things that we brought in with PENN (Entertainment) and with the change into the Hollywood brand. I think it’s been a great experience for our guests to see something different, and to come down here and be able to experience the Lions winning and then also have a good time before and after the game.”
Giles said there’s been an increase in attendance at the casino prior to, and after, the Lions playoff games these last two weeks.
Attendance has also been up at MGM Grand Detroit. The BetMGM Sportsbook Lounge has been at capacity for both playoff games thus far while taking in a lot of wagers for the Lions.
“Our sportsbook ticket window has seen an uptick in action and volume as the Lions have made the playoffs,” Deandra Walker, Sportsbook Manager at MGM Grand Detroit, told PlayMichigan. “The BetMGM Lounge at MGM Grand Detroit has reached capacity on every game.
“The energy is high, guests are engaged and eager to place their wagers on the Lions. With the Lions last game played on January 14th against the Tampa Buccaneers 70% of our handle for that day was from that game. The majority of wagers being placed has been on our home team some bets large as 60k.”
Located just half a mile from Ford Field, Hollywood Casino at Greektown has allowed customers to feel part of the atmosphere even if they aren’t in Ford Field.
“We’ve been a downtown destination, but I think the Lions’ success has taken us to another level for sure. It’s great to come to the casino being so close because you get to you walk right out onto the street and you feel like you’re right in the action. You’re in the mix with all the other fans,” Giles said.
“When you’re inside the casino, we have access to watch the game all over the floor. There’s not a spot on the floor that won’t have a TV nearby with the Lions game on. Plus, we have mega screens at The Sportsbook and we have some big screens downstairs and at Rock Bar. So, there’s a lot of comfortable environments in our casino to watch the game. Being so close to the stadium, you can feel that energy coming from the stadium and throughout the city.”
Hollywood Casino expecting a boost for NFC Championship
The Detroit Lions are on the road this Sunday for the NFC Championship Game with the San Francisco 49ers.
However, Ford Field has already sold out for a watch party, bringing tens of thousands into Detroit again for the game.
The casinos themselves also anticipate a lot of added traffic for the game for those looking to enjoy the contest from a sportsbook venue or while gambling.
“It’s a destination to come watch the game,” Giles said. “With our sportsbook we have a great viewing experience. People see Greektown as a destination to come down and a place they can enjoy the game.
“We do expect it to be heavy traffic (on Sunday). We will get the flow from people going to the watch party at Ford Field. But, also get traffic from people who couldn’t afford to go to the game in San Francisco and just want to be part of the downtown energy for the game.”
Giles added that the energy in the city overall has been different these past few weeks. Everyone is on board to try and push the Lions to the Super Bowl.
“Downtown in general, including the casino, it’s been electric,” he said. “It’s a great time in the city. Everybody’s happy and super excited that the Lions are moving forward. It’s been a long time coming and everybody is fired up about it.”
Michigan bettors strongly backing the Lions
The support for the Lions isn’t just being felt at the Detroit casinos.
Michigan online sportsbooks are seeing a heavy push for the hometown team going into Sunday’s game.
Entering conference championship weekend, DraftKings Sportsbook Michigan lists the Lions as a 7-point underdog in Sunday’s game with the 49ers. Overall, the Lions’ odds to win the Super Bowl right now are .
Nationally, Detroit is getting 58% of the spread wagers to cover, but only 44% of the money.
In Michigan, Detroit is making up 88% of the bets and the handle in DraftKings spread market.
When it comes to the money line, the Lions are getting 57% of the bets and 65% of the handle. They are currently +270 to win outright.
In Michigan, the Lions are getting 90% of the moneyline bets and 86% of the money.
Also at DraftKings, the Lions are the most bet team to win the Super Bowl in the state of Michigan. Nationally, they rank seventh for DraftKings’ Super Bowl market.
BetMGM Sportsbook Michigan is seeing similar results, with the Lions making up 94% of the bets and 91% of the money in the state as a 7-point underdog. The state also has 96% of the bets and 95% of the money on the Lions to win outright.
Nationally, BetMGM has 72% of the bets and 71% of the money going on the Lions as a 7-point underdog.
The Lions are 13-6 against the spread on the season, while San Francisco is 9-9 ATS.