MGM Grand Detroit celebrates legalization of sports gambling in Michigan

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DETROIT (WILX) -- The days of finding and paying a bookie under the table are over.

Detroit sports legends, incuding Dino Ciccarelli, James "Buddha" Edwards, Tommy Hearns, Jerome Bettis,ad Dave Rozema, made some of the state's first bets.

MGM Grand Detroit opened its sportsbook for business on Wednesday, and the first legal bet was placed.

"I'm about to have a heart attack!" said 62-year-old Gregory Ponders, who made one of the first bets Wednesday. "Y'all have to get me out, I'm so excited I'm sweating!"

Ponders bet on the Los Angeles Lakers to win the NBA Championship, and the Michigan State Spartans to win the NCAA Tournament.

He isn't the only one excited about making one of the first bets.

Former Lion Lomas Brown picked his former team to win more than six games next season.

"I'm feeling good about myself right now," said Brown, "so have to hold up on your end of the bargain this year."

State Representative Brandt Iden, who pushed the bill forward, expressed relief and excitement Wednesday.

"To see behind me what we've done...this is amazing, and I think we're going to see a tremendous amount of revenue come from this at the end of the day," Iden said.

The millions of dollars expected to come from sports betting will go back to the state's first responders, school funds, and infrastructure.

"That money's regulated and provides money to enhance the state for everybody," said Louis Theros, MGM Grand Detroit's Vice President.

In addition to making bets, you can also watch your favorite teams at the casino's sports lounge.

"It's all about making sure we can provide an environment where you can be excited with other sports fans and cheer on your favorite team," said Casino President David Tsai.

MGM Grand, with legal sports betting, is changing the way fans will watch their favorite teams.

"They're going to watch until the end of the game because they're invested in it," said Detroit native Barry Sanders, who won a Super Bowl with the Pittsburgh Steelers in Detroit.

Whether you're betting on the Spartans like Ponders, or Michigan, like Theros plans to do, you can make that bet legally.

"People bet all the time and now you can come to a legal place and bet," said former Detroit Piston James Edwards. "I'll be back down to make a couple more bets."

With the legislation passed in 2019 that allows sports betting, it's only a matter of time before we can place bets on our phones.

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