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Detroit Sportsbooks Offer Distinct Atmospheres For Viewing March Madness

First-hand looks at what MGM Grand, Motor City, and Greektown have in store




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Detroit March Madness

Detroit’s three casinos — MGM Grand Detroit, Motor City Casino-Hotel, and Greektown Casino-Hotel — are within a mile radius of each other.

Inside each one you’ll find a sportsbook where Michigan sports bettors hang out throughout the year. However, over the next few weeks, the crowds and enthusiasm inside each establishment figure to grow in size, accompanied by amplified sports chatter.

That’s because it’s March Madness! It’s that time of the year when college basketball grabs the attention of sports fans — and even non-sports fans — across the U.S.

March comes around, and college hoops reigns supreme as the NCAA harnesses the entire month to determine the next NCAA champions. FanDuel Online Sportsbook has odds of +370 on Gonzaga and +600 on Arizona to win the NCAA Tournament. The sportsbook has long odds of +15000 on Michigan and +18000 on Michigan State winning the title.

MI Bets recently spent a day visiting the three Detroit casinos to gauge the vibe within their respective sportsbooks. It was a chance to see what each establishment might offer anyone seeking a place to sit back, place a bet or two, and enjoy watching March Madness action unfold.

All three offer plenty of self-service betting kiosks. But beyond that, MI Bets found MGM Grand Detroit’s BetMGM Sports Lounge, Barstool Sportsbook at Greektown Casino-Hotel, and FanDuel Sportsbook at Motor City Casino-Hotel provide different experiences. Each is unique in style and ambiance.

Here’s a breakdown of Detroit’s three sportsbooks:

BetMGM Sports Lounge

Our first stop took us to MGM Grand Detroit’s BetMGM Sports Lounge. The sportsbook, which operates daily from 9 a.m.-midnight, is spacious and plush. It evokes the feel more of a lounge than a sports bar. Clearly, it was designed with attention to detail. From the high-definition video screens to the tables and chairs, every item inside the lounge is high quality. 

BetMGM Sports Lounge is geared toward drawing the kind of sophisticated 9-to-5 clientele that prefer to have a nice cocktail or craft beer after a hard day’s work. It’s a place where you’ll see just as many suits and ties as you’ll see University of Michigan and Michigan State hoodies.

Customers have access to six betting windows, 35 self-service kiosks (located throughout the casino), 60 high-definition TVs, 14 bar top video poker machines, and a full bar.

The high-end establishment even offers reservations for three sections for group gatherings at a price of $400 for four hours. The plush leather chairs set up for theater-like viewing of the huge video wall can also be reserved, for $25-$75, depending on what sports events might be televised.

Local customer Leon Baker said he’s not really a sports fan, but he frequents the MGM sportsbook with friends or to entertain business clients. He rarely ventures over to Detroit’s other two sportsbooks.  

“This fits me,” Baker said, of the BetMGM Sports Lounge. “I don’t fit in at Motor City. Greektown — it’s too much going on around there. This is a good time.”

Jason Dessert said he does most of his sports betting online, but likes the surroundings at BetMGM Sports Lounge. He’s a huge sports fan who is looking forward to the start of the NCAA Tournament, which begins with the “First Four” games being played March 15-16 in Dayton, Ohio.

“I love my parlays,” Dessert said. “March Madness is coming up and that’s going to be a whole new ballgame. I really don’t know much about basketball, but I love betting on basketball.”

Dessert prefers this sportsbook over the other two in Detroit.

“It’s the one that I’m most comfortable with,” Dessert said. “My girlfriend loves going to Greektown, but I’m more MGM.”

Barstool Sportsbook at Greektown Casino

At Greektown, Barstool Sportsbook welcomes bettors in the Upper Casino Level near the top of the Grand Staircase.

It’s designed to attract a sports bar crowd. Detroit- and Michigan-based sports team memorabilia is propped up throughout the sports bar. This sportsbook is made for die-hard sports fans looking for a place to wager while enjoying a good burger or wings with a cold beer.

Bettors have access to 40 betting kiosks, 25 high-definition TVs, and a 30-foot video wall. While there are plenty of seats and tables in the primary area for viewing games and eating inside the restaurant-style setting, Greektown offers an auxiliary area for sports betting and viewing located approximately 20 yards from the main section. The dimly lit room includes 10 high-top tables, 15 high-definition TVs, and a bar.

Barstool Sportsbook also offers customers the opportunity to reserve tables. Hours of operation are 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-midnight, Friday; 9 a.m.-midnight, Saturday; and 10 a.m.-midnight, Sunday.

FanDuel Sportsbook at Motor City Casino

The two-story FanDuel Sportsbook at Motor City offers plenty of room. It’s the most spacious of the three Detroit sportsbooks, and it stands out as the most laid-back environment of the bunch. It’s the neighborhood sportsbook where you get the feeling that most of the patrons know each other.

It provides sports bettors six betting windows, more than 60 high-definition TVs, a sports ticker, a VIP area, and more than 50 self-service betting kiosks. It’s open daily from 9 a.m.-midnight.

Stacey Grham is a sports fan who places bets at FanDuel Sportsbook, which she prefers over the other two local sportsbooks.

“I like FanDuel because it lets you bet on games while the games are going on,” Grham said.

She said she wagers mostly on the NBA and college basketball. So, she’s excited about March Madness being right around the corner.

“I like basketball,” she said. “I’m a high school teacher, so my students and my husband help keep me informed.”

Geno Parks said FanDuel Sportsbook is his favorite place to go to and watch sports and place bets because “it’s familiar” to him and his friends.

“It caters to us,” said Parks, referring to his African-American roots. “Everybody knows everybody here.”

Parks expects to watch some of the NCAA Tournament, along with friends, while sitting in front of the multiple screens at FanDuel Sportsbook.

“It’s going to be some big betting going on,” Parks said.

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Photo: Aaron Doster/USA TODAY