LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

Detroit — Officials from MGM Grand Detroit are acknowledging that they now are fully prepared for sports betting, if and when the state Legislature legalizes gambling legislation.

MGM Grand Detroit recently unveiled its new Moneyline Sports Lounge, which for now is serving as a sports bar, complete with 60 televisions, a capacity of 280 and three sections of VIP seating.

The sports bar is located off the front entrance to the casino near the hotel lobby, and could becom a major attraction if the state legalizes sports betting.

"We live in a sports town and saw an opportunity to open a venue unlike other sports bars in Detroit that provides our guests with a unique and exciting atmosphere to watch their favorite teams," said Mike Neubecker, president and COO of MGM Grand Detroit. The wall-to-wall TVs, comfortable seating and full bar make it a great place to take in a game, or just meet up with friends.

"And if sports betting is legalized, we’re prepared to offer an outstanding experience."

The Moneyline lounge also features couches and high-top seating, and personalized game sound. It is 21-and-older, and is smoke-free. It is open from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.

The lounge also features a wraparound digital marquee, that shows off the latest schedule of the day's sports games, long a tell-tale sign that it is serving as, essentially, a placeholder for a sports book. Security guards near the front entrance near Moneyline have been telling casino patrons for months that Moneyline would be a sports book.

Sports betting long has been legal only in Nevada, but that changed via a landmark Supreme Court ruling in May 2018, allowing each state to determine whether to allow sports betting. Fifteen states have legalized, including Arkansas, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee and West Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia, while Maine is expected to have it legalzed in 2020.

Caesars Windsor across the border has offered sports betting for years. Detroit has three casinos, including Greektown and MotorCity. Penn National Gaming Inc., operator of Greektown, has plans in place to offer an online sports book.

Michigan sports-gambling legislation, vetoed by then-Gov. Rick Snyder in December, has hit a lull in this legislature, thanks at least in part to the ongoing budget debate. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has seemed open to signing sports-gambling legislation, but has said the state should receive a higher cut in taxes; 8 percent was the original rate.

The bills were sent to the House Ways and Means Committee on Sept. 17, but have yet to be taken up by the committee. One lawmaker, Rep. Brandt Iden, a Portage Republican, has said he wants legalized sports gambling by the Super Bowl on Feb. 2.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE