Posted on: August 19, 2022, 10:05 a.m.
Last update on: August 20, 2022, 07:55.
A new version of the Las Vegas sports betting experience opened near Detroit on Friday. This is where Caesars Sportsbook Lounge celebrated its grand opening at the Emagine Royal Oak Theater in suburban Motor City.
Emagine Royal Oak is one of 28 luxury theaters owned by Emagine Entertainment in the upper Midwest, and one of its theaters has been transformed into a lounge that will show a wide range of sporting events. Guests 21 and older can watch games on large screens with surround sound while seated in heated chairs. There are individual tables big enough for laptops or drinks and a snack.
There are no windows with clerks to take bets. This is for online betting only. But the lounge is also equipped with a free high-speed wi-fi connection. In addition, the latest odds will be displayed on a digital display.
Emagine Entertainment CEO Anthony LaVerde said in a statement that the Michigan-based cinema chain wants to provide unique experiences for its customers.
“Partnering with Caesars is a major step in our continued commitment to being the most innovative theater chain in the country,” said LaVerde.
With 28 locations that offer 342 screens and more than 30,000 seats, Emagine is currently the ninth largest movie theater chain in North America, according to The Boxoffice Pro. In addition to Michigan, the company has locations in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
According to a statement from Caesars, Emagine plans to open more sportsbooks by the end of the year.
The show’s opening comes less than four months after Caesars Entertainment and Emagine first announced their deal.
Admission to the show is free, although there may be times when special chargeable events take place. Seats are also first come, first served.
Caesars Digital co-president Eric Hession said he applauded Emagine’s “ingenuity” to turn a movie theater into a gym.
This concept will provide an exciting environment for people to enjoy televised sporting events and allow us to connect with new customers while rewarding our existing loyal customer base,” Hession said.
With Michigan offering iGaming, lounge patrons can also play Caesars digital casino games. These include slots, blackjack, roulette and live dealer table games.
Caesars is licensed to offer online gaming in Michigan through its partnership with the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and the Chippewa Indians.
In terms of sports betting management, Caesars currently ranks fifth in Michigan this year, having taken $196.9 million in bets since January. As an iGaming operator, the $37.9 million generated in gross revenue is good for sixth of the state’s 15 licensed apps.
Can sports betting boost the box office?
The concept of a sports betting parlor where people can use their mobile devices to bet is not exactly a new concept. Since the overturning of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) ushered in an expansion of sports betting, sportsbooks have partnered with professional sports teams to create similar lounges in their stadiums, arenas or baseball stadiums.
But a living room in a movie theater would lend itself more to a Vegas-style experience. Although online betting is so dominant, bettors don’t necessarily feel compelled to leave their homes when they could still bet from there.
If the Emagine-Caesars partnership is successful, it could give the movie industry a boost as it slowly recovers from COVID-19. Not only has the pandemic kept many people from leaving theaters, but the pandemic has also reduced theatrical releases on the big screen. According FranchiseRe.biz, there were 45 movies in the first half of 2022 that were shown on 1,000 or more screens. That’s a 33.8% drop from the 68 that had such wide circulation in 2019.
As a result, box office finances 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, with states such as Kansas, Ohio, Maryland, Massachusetts and Maine gearing up to launch in the coming months.