The opening came on the heels of Monday’s ribbon-cutting for the first sportsbook in Illinois at BetRivers Sportsbook in Des Plaines just outside of Chicago. The Moneyline Sports Lounge opened at 1 p.m. ET and just in time for March Madness with the NCAA’s college basketball tournament and Selection Sunday days away. Bettors will be able to place wagers on in-state Big Ten powers Michigan and Michigan State as both are projected to be part of the 68-team field.
“I’m thrilled. Like I said, amongst all the bad news I’ve heard today (referring to stock market swoon), Wednesday will be a good day,” Brandt Iden, key House bill sponsor in Michigan for sports betting, told Sports Handle. “It’s been a lot of really hard work. I still think that by the end of the year, we’ll have sportsbooks online.”
— MGM Grand Detroit (@MGMGrandDetroit) March 12, 2020
The Moneyline Sports Lounge has four in-person tellers and 16 automated kiosks to place bets and 60 TVs and 14 video poker machines in addition to a full service bar.
All three of Detroit’s casinos will be accepting bets for March Madness, as Greektown Casino also opened Wednesday. The Sportsbook at Greektown Casino, operated by Penn National, has seven in-person tellers and 33 automated kiosks. The FanDuel Sportsbook at MotorCity Casino announced it will begin taking wagers Thursday, while the tribal casinos in the Wolverine State have yet to offer any opening dates.
Will lack of mobile hinder Motown early?
All betting in Michigan will have to be done in person since the expectation is mobile sports betting will not be available until next year at the earliest. That has the potential to put the Detroit casinos on the back foot against Indiana, which offers remote registration and has seen that serve as a primary driving force to early success in the sports betting market by drawing customers from both Michigan and Illinois since going live last August.
The Indiana Gaming Commission reported a record $187.1 million handle in February. The state’s six online sports books — FanDuel, DraftKings, PointsBet, BetRivers, BetMGM, and BetAmerica — accounted for $145.8 million of that total, which amounted to 77.9% of the overall handle. Complicating matters some for MGM Grand Detroit is the BetMGM mobile platform.
BetMGM, which launched last month, currently has an incentivized deal to draw bettors into the Hoosier State as part of a sports betting deal with Buffalo Wild Wings, which has a restaurant location in the northeast corner of Indiana.
Michigan legalized sports betting in December when Governor Gretchen Whitmore signed a package of iGaming bills into law that included HB4916. Iden, who is serving his final term in the Michigan statehouse, has long been the primary driver of sports betting in the Wolverine State and nearly had a bill signed into law in 2018 before it was surprisingly vetoed by then-Governor Rick Snyder.