Michigan Movie Complex Opening Sports Lounge With Giant Screen, In-Seat Service

Sports bettors in suburban Detroit can bet on games in a retrofitted movie theater
Michigan Movie Complex
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A suburban Detroit movie complex is hoping to cash in on legal sports betting. According to WXYZ in Michigan, the EMagine theater in Royal Oak is opening a Las Vegas-style sports lounge, where customers can watch sporting events on the (really) big screen, bet on their mobile devices, and experience games in groups.

The theater is planning to open its reimagined space on Dec. 30, when Michigan State plays Pittsburgh in the Peach Bowl and Central Michigan plays Boise State in the Arizona Bowl. But the biggest bowl for Michigan this year will be when the No. 2 Michigan Wolverines play the No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs in a national semifinal at the Orange Bowl on Dec. 31. Should Michigan win, it will play in the national championship in Indianapolis on Jan. 10.

The complex is dedicating one theater to its Las Vegas-style sports lounge, where fans can watch games on the two-story-high, 40-foot-wide screen, which can accommodate up to eight events simultaneously. The “crisp LED screens” will be coupled with a 5.1 cinema surround system and a dedicated odds screen. According to the theater’s website, every seat will have a tabletop and new high-speed internet has been installed.

Vegas atmosphere in suburban Detroit

“It’s been two years of COVID pain for us at Emagine,” Anthony LaVerde, Emagine Entertainment CEO, told the TV station. “This initiative was actually thought about pre-COVID. It’s nice to see it come to fruition and give people a communal experience without having to get on a plane and fly to Vegas.”

The new sports lounge is equipped with heated, power-reclining seats set up stadium style for easy sight lines to the screen.

Admission will be free and food-and-beverage service, including traditional movie-theater popcorn and bar food, will be handled by a “seat-side service team,” according to EMagine’s website. The theater will offer a special “Sports Lounge Menu” that also includes beer, wine, and cocktails.

The lounge will be open during regular theater hours, and some special events may require tickets.

Michigan lawmakers legalized sports betting in December 2019. Brick-and-mortar operations across the state went live in March 2020, just ahead of COVID-19 restrictions, and statewide mobile wagering made its debut in January 2021. About 15 major operators are live online in the state, including 10 that launched together on Jan. 22: Barstool Sportsbook, BetMGM, BetRivers, Caesars, DraftKings, FanDuel, Golden Nugget, PointsBet, TwinSpires, and WynnBET.

Photo: Shutterstock

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