Caesars, Emagine Open First Sports Betting Lounge at Michigan Theater

Posted on: Aug 19, 2022 10:05 am.

Last updated on: August 20, 2022 01:54 am.

A new twist on the Las Vegas sportsbook experience opened near Detroit on Friday. There, the Caesars Sportsbook Lounge celebrated its grand opening at the Emagine Royal Oak Theater in the suburb of Motor City.

Imagine Royal Oak
The Emagine Royal Oak Movie Theater in Royal Oak, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. On Friday, the theater chain opened the Caesars Sportsbook Lounge at the complex and hopes to open more in the near future. (Image: Emagine Entertainment)

Emagine Royal Oak is one of 28 luxury theaters owned by Emagine Entertainment in the upper Midwest, and one of its theaters has been converted into a lounge that will broadcast a variety of sporting events. Guests 21 and older can watch games on big screens with surround sound while seated in heated loungers. There are individual tables big enough for laptops or drinks and a snack.

There are no windows with vendors to take bets. It’s online betting only, but the lounge is also equipped with free high-speed WiFi. In addition, the latest odds are shown on a digital display.

Emagine Entertainment CEO Anthony LaVerde said in a statement that the Michigan-based theater chain aims to provide unique experiences for its customers.

“Partnering with Caesars is an important milestone in our ongoing commitment to be the most innovative theater chain in the country,” said LaVerde.

With 28 locations offering 342 screens and more than 30,000 seats, Emagine is currently the ninth largest theater chain in North America, according to The Boxoffice Pro. In addition to Michigan, the company has locations in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Emagine expects to open more sports betting lounges later this year, according to a release from Caesars.

‘Exciting environment’

The lounge’s opening comes less than four months after Caesars Entertainment and Emagine first announced their deal.

Entry to the lounge is free, however there may be special ticketed events. First come first serve.

Eric Hession, co-president of Caesars Digital, said he commended Emagine’s “ingenuity” in turning a movie theater into a sports lounge.

This concept will provide an exciting environment for people to enjoy televised sporting events and for us to connect with new customers, while also rewarding our existing loyal customer base.” said Hess.

Because Michigan offers iGaming, guests can also play Caesars digital casino games in the lounge. These include slots, blackjack, roulette and live dealer table games.

Caesars is licensed to offer online gambling in Michigan through its partnership with the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and the Chippewa Indians.

In terms of sports betting, Caesars currently ranks fifth in Michigan this year, having collected $196.9 million in wagers since January. As an iGaming operator, the $37.9 million in gross revenue is good for sixth out of the 15 licensed apps in the state.

Can Sports Betting Boost Box Offices?

The concept of a sports betting lounge where people can use their mobile devices to place bets isn’t exactly a new concept. Ever since the PASPA overthrow led to the expansion of sports betting, sportsbooks have partnered with professional sports teams to set up similar lounges in their stadiums, arenas or baseball stadiums.

But a lounge in a movie theater would lend itself more to a Vegas-style experience, although with the dominance of online betting, bettors don’t necessarily feel compelled to leave their homes if they could still bet from there.

If the partnership between Emagine and Caesars is successful, it could give the cinema industry a little boost as it slowly recovers from COVID-19. Not only has the pandemic kept many people out of theaters, but the pandemic has also restricted theatrical releases on the big screen. Corresponding, there were 45 films released to 1,000 screens or more in the first half of 2022. That’s down 33.8% from the 68 that had such a wide release in 2019.

As a result, box office numbers are down 32.4% in the first half of 2022 compared to the first six months of 2019.

Mobile sports betting is currently legal in 20 states and the District of Columbia, and states such as Kansas, Ohio, Maryland, Massachusetts and Maine are preparing to roll out in the coming months.

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