FanDuel Sportsbook’s VIP room at MotorCity Casino-Hotel opened its doors in June. Stephen Randazzo, a Motor City Casino manager, said the 1,100 square feet of private space that sits behind a wall from FanDuel’s public sportsbook was barely used during those first several weeks.
“It was slow in the beginning because the only thing going on was baseball,” Randazzo said.
Fast forward to the first weekend of September, when dozens of college football games were played on Saturday and regular-season NFL games were held on Sunday, and FanDuel’s plush room didn’t lack for occupants.
“That’s the special kind of stuff that it was built for,” said Randazzo.
To cap the first full weekend of college football and the NFL, MI Bets made a visit to MotorCity Casino’s VIP room on Monday night to watch the Denver Broncos lose to the Seattle Seahawks in Russell Wilson’s return to Seattle.
One-of-a-kind sportsbook in Detroit
FanDuel got it right with the lounge, which is the only VIP sportsbook space available at the three Detroit-area casinos. MGM Grand Detroit offers BetMGM Sportsbook Lounge and Hollywood Casino at Greektown has Barstool Sportsbook, but neither has an area designated solely for private gatherings.
FanDuel’s retail space offers patrons two floors to choose from, with 70 high-definition screens. The additional VIP room that can accommodate up to 25 individuals gives MotorCity a clear edge in being able to cater to more sports bettors crowds than the other two casinos.
Furthermore, the VIP room provides catering and pampering typically found inside a suite at an arena or stadium. Arizona’s Footprint Center, which plays host to the Phoenix Suns and Mercury, is the only other venue that has a comparable FanDuel lounge.
On Monday, a tailgate-like atmosphere was present inside FanDuel’s Detroit VIP room, as most of the patrons were Broncos fans excited to see what Wilson would do against his former team.
A ‘dope’ room designed for fun
The dozen or so patrons donning Broncos gear sat in one half of the room, which is divided by a wall featuring five high-definition screens (two 85-inch screens above three 55-inch screens) on each side. They had drinks and approximately half a dozen pizzas. A smaller party sat on the other side of the wall.
“I just found out about this room today. It’s dope,” said Oge Onwudiwe, who sat on the side with the smaller party watching the first Monday Night Football game of the season.
The room is available for reservations to MotorCity Casino VIP members. It is furnished with 15 high-def TVs, a bar, leather lounge seats, restrooms, odds boards, a refrigerator filled with complimentary bottles of water, and a teller for placing bets.
“It’s one-stop-shop for food, drinks, and games,” Randazzo said.
Privacy for serious bettors
The room is ideal for special events, and is well insulated from the noise coming from the casino and the public area of the sportsbook. It’s also ideal for serious bettors who want to watch and wager on games away from the general sportsbook crowd.
“We make big bets, and this just keeps people out of your face,” said a fan wearing a Russell Wilson Broncos jersey who asked not to be identified. “You don’t want all that screaming in your face coming from someone with a $10 bet who is going against you.”
Tony, who didn’t care to share his last name, reserved one half of the room for his group to watch the game. An avid sports fan who wagers regularly on sports, he likes the room because it allows him a certain level of privacy to watch and bet on games without distractions.
“I bet a lot of money and I don’t like to have to deal with a lot of shenanigans,” said Tony, a MotorCity Elite member, who watched the second half of the game while eating Pop-Tarts after munching on pizza at kickoff.