MGM Grand Detroit’s ‘Sportsbook’ Proves Readiness for Legal Sports Betting in Michigan

Posted on November 7, 2019

Legal Michigan sports betting may be months away yet, but one casino in the Wolverine State is getting ready regardless. The MGM Grand Detroit has opened a “sports lounge” that could serve as the future home of a real sports wagering site.

The newly renovated space offers all the trappings that brick-and-mortar sportsbooks inside casinos usually entail. That is, of course, except for the betting kiosks and windows.

Details on the new MGM Grand Detroit “sportsbook”

The new Moneyline Sports Lounge doesn’t beat around the bush regarding its intentions. The hope for the future is right there in the name.

It’s set up as a sports bar, with 60 television monitors, VIP seating and a capacity of 280. The lounge is located off the main entrance to the casino floor.

There is also a wall that features a digital marquee. Currently, that shows daily game schedules.

MGM Grand could easily adapt that to an odds ticker. The Detroit News reports security guards have told patrons the space will eventually be a sportsbook.

The hours for the lounge mimic what many retail sportsbooks around the country offer. Those are 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.

Far from disputing those statements, MGM Grand has actually confirmed their intentions in the same Detroit News article.

“We live in a sports town and saw an opportunity to open a venue unlike other sports bars in Detroit that provides our guests with a unique and exciting atmosphere to watch their favorite teams,” said Mike Neubecker, president and COO of MGM Grand Detroit. “The wall-to-wall TVs, comfortable seating and full bar make it a great place to take in a game, or just meet up with friends. And if sports betting is legalized, we’re prepared to offer an outstanding experience.”

While it’s unclear when legal Michigan sportsbooks could start accepting wagers, it appears the MGM Grand could be among the first to do so. There’s a lot of work yet to be done before that becomes reality, however.

Obstacles that remain in place for MGM Grand

Currently, there is a sports betting bill that has been approved by the Michigan House. The Michigan Senate has yet to schedule a vote, however.

Even if the bill clears the Senate, there’s no guarantee Gov. Gretchen Whitmer won’t veto at least part of it. Right now, there’s no way of knowing exactly what a final Michigan sports betting law might look like.

Because of that, there’s a lot of factors outside of MGM Grand’s control. Those include the tax rate on revenue, what types of bets can be offered and procedures for obtaining a license.

Regardless, having the space ready to go gives MGM Grand a bit of a head start on the competition. They’ll be able to focus on other things necessary to getting the sportsbook live when the time comes.

The size of that head start may prove minimal. The other two Detroit casinos are likely watching not only how the new sports lounge affects numbers at MGM Grand but the legislative process as well.

For now, for what it’s worth, MGM Grand appears to be the most ready to cater to potential sports betting patrons in Michigan.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Kansas City, Mo. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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