Caesars Partners With Emagine to Open Sports Betting Lounge in Michigan

A new take on the Las Vegas sportsbook experience opened Friday near Detroit. That’s where The Caesars Sportsbook Lounge celebrated its grand opening at the Emagine Royal Oak theatre in the Motor City suburb.

Emagine Royal Oak
The Emagine Royal Oak movie theatre in Royal Oak, Mich., a Detroit suburb. On Friday, the theater chain opened The Caesars Sportsbook Lounge at the complex and hope 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 theatres has been transformed into a lounge that will broadcast a wide array of sporting events. Guests 21 and older can watch games on large screens with surround sound while sitting in heated recliners. There are individual tables large enough for laptops or drinks and a snack.

There aren’t any windows with clerks to take bets. It’s online betting only, but the lounge is also set up with free high speed wi-fi. In addition, the latest odds will be posted on a digital display.

Emagine Entertainment CEO Anthony LaVerde said in a statement said the Michigan-based theater chain wants to give its customers unique experiences.

“Partnering with Caesars is a major milestone in our ongoing commitment to being the most innovative theater chain in the country,” LaVerde said.

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

According to a release from Caesars, Emagine expects to open more sportsbook lounges as soon as later this year.

‘Exciting Environment’

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

Admission to the lounge is free, although there may be times when special ticketed events take place. Seating is also first come, first served.

Caesars Digital Co-President Eric Hession said he applauded Emagine’s “ingenuity” to transform 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,” Hession said.

With Michigan offering iGaming, patrons in the lounge can also play Caesars digital casino games. Those 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 Chippewa Indians.

In terms of sports betting handle, Caesars currently ranks fifth in Michigan this year as it has taken $196.9 million in wagers since January. As an iGaming operator, the $37.9 million generated in gross receipts is good for sixth out of the 15 licensed apps in the state.

Can Sports Betting Give Box Offices a Boost?

The concept of a sports betting lounge where people can use their mobile devices to wager isn’t exactly a new concept. Since the overturning of PASPA has ushered in an expansion of sports betting, sportsbooks have partnered with professional sports teams to create similar lounges in their stadiums, arenas, or ballparks.

But a lounge in a movie theater would lend itself more to a Vegas-style experience, although with online wagering so dominant, bettors may not necessarily feel compelled to leave their home when they could still bet from there.

If the Emagine-Caesars partnership is successful, it could give the movie theater industry a bit of a boost as it makes a slow recovery from COVID-19. Not only did the pandemic keep many people out of theaters, but the pandemic has also curtailed theatrical releases on the big screen. According to, there have were 45 films through the first half of 2022 that were released to 1,000 or more screens. That’s down 33.8% from the 68 that had such wide release in 2019.

As a result box office financials 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 such states as Kansas, Ohio, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Maine preparing to launch in the coming months.

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