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Lions' Barry Sanders opens MotorCity sports book by lighting $40 on fire

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Detroit — The third Detroit casino launched its sports book Thursday, not there's much to bet on right now.

No matter, Lions great Barry Sanders found some action in placing the ceremonial first bets at MotorCity Casino's FanDuel Sportsbook, plunking down $20 each on the Tigers and Lions to win their resepctive championships this year.

Lions legend Barry Sanders places the first bets at MotorCity Casino's sports book Thursday.

MotorCity Casino became the third and final Detroit casino to open its sports book, after MGM Grand Detroit's BET MGM and The Sportsbook at Greektown opened for business at 1 p.m. Wednesday, not long before a plethora of sports organizations, including the NCAA, NBA, NHL and MLB, began canceling hundres of games due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The state's other 22 casinos, all tribal, have plans to open sports books later this year, with some, like Firekeepers in Battle Creek, set to take action as early as later this spring.

MotorCity's sports book is two levels, with its sports bar occupying space that used to be made up of Chromatics Lounge and Spectators bars. It features 67 televisions.

More: Niyo: Trio of brick-and-mortar sportsbooks begins ‘new era’ of betting in Detroit

MotorCity has 54 self-service kiosks at which to place bets — Greektown has 40, MGM Grand has 16 — as well as six betting windows.

"For two decades, we have been committed to reimagining the guest experience — consistently raising the bar with innovative entertainment, world-class luxury hotel accommodations and high energy gaming activities,” Bruce Dall, president of MotorCity Casino, said in a statement. 

“This relationship takes it to the next level. With FanDuel, our guests will be able to engage with their favorite sports in a dynamic new way at Detroit’s only locally-owned and operated casino.”

FanDuel, the popular daily fantasy sports company, will operate the sports book.

"Detroit is an incredible sports town — the ‘City of Champions'," Matt King, CEO of the FanDuel Group, said in a statement this week. "Exciting things are happening in Detroit, and we couldn’t be more excited about this move to the Motor City.”

As for the "City of Champions," it's been a minute on that front, though it didn't stop Sanders from rolling the dice on the Tigers (500-1) and Lions (66-1).

More: Detroit casinos, which draw thousands of customers a day, combating coronavirus fears

MotorCity was supposed to host a Red Wings watch party later Thursday, with Darren McCarty and Joey Kocur in attendance, but the NHL earlier in the day suspended its season.

The casinos were eager to get the sports books open in time for "March Madness," though that was a moot point by late Thursday afternoon, when the NCAA canceled its men's and women's basketball tournaments.

Any bets made on games that have been canceled will be refunded, and over-under futures on the Tigers, with MLB delaying its season by two weeks, will be void, as well.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984