LAS VEGAS — Circa Resort & Casino's CEO Derek Stevens has made many long-shot bets through the years, but his mammoth sportsbook in this city's newest casino is close to a sure thing for sports fans.
Opening Oct. 28, the book has a capacity of 1,000 in three tiers (when pandemic restrictions are lifted) under a 78 million-pixel screen with crystal-clear audio. The third floor features a dedicated broadcast studio for VSiN, the Sports Betting Network, giving bettors real-time analysis from broadcasters, athletes and industry professionals.
It's the culmination of Stevens' decadeslong vision to not only match but surpass the size and amenities of legendary Vegas sportsbooks such as Westgate (formerly the Las Vegas Hilton), Caesars Palace and Bellagio.
"He's melded all those visions into one just amazing room where he and sports bettors can live out their sports betting dreams," sportsbook director Matthew Metcalf said.
Impressive attention to detail reflects Stevens' sensibilities: The Overlook Bar, with a commanding view, is named after the distinctive right-field grandstand in the old Tigers Stadium, where Stevens attended many games. The carpet is reminiscent of the bold plaid coats Stevens favors. Images of newspapers' historical sports pages are built into some tables.
"There's really not a bad seat in the house, just because this thing is so unbelievably big," said Mike Van Ermen, the sports book's strategic operations manager. "I love to sit down in the Legends Club [section], the recliners. After you recline, the table pulls in closer to you. So you have your drink and your food right there. And you have to move your neck like an inch and a half at most, and you don't have to move for the rest of the day. It's really, really quality real estate."
The Mega Bar at Circa Resort & Casino is 165 feet long and has 40 TVs and 120 beer taps. Photo Credit: Paul Szydelko
In addition to the Legends Club's plush recliners, the Dugout in the front row offers single-seat, cushioned chairs; the Champions Club section includes long, booth-style seating for larger groups; the Circa Club Upper and Circa Club Lower sections have more booth seating; and the North and South Stands flanking the sports book's upper reaches have steep, stadium-style seating.
Guests can reserve a spot for both day-of visits and future events, with various pricing available. During slower days and seasons without high-profile NFL games, for example, there will be a $10 food and beverage minimum for four hours.
Metcalf helped launch the sports book operation, called Circa Sports, in June 2019 at Stevens' other casinos, along with a mobile sports betting app. Transparency in setting betting limits, lower hold percentages (the portion of a bet kept by the sports book) and top-notch customer service were the goals, he said.
"With this book, we're going to get the opportunity to take our product and put it on a much grander stage and have more people experience it. Once they experience what we're doing, they'll be back," Metcalf said.
Van Ermen noted that the sportsbook is not an amenity tacked on to a casino but a destination itself. "This is why we want you to come from wherever you are," he said. "We want you to come here to see this. This is not just something that we're throwing up on the side of the building and hoping that it makes a little bit of money. We want this to be the engine that drives people into the door. That's why it's built the way it's built."
The casino with 49 tables and 1,350 machines, sportsbook, pool complex, restaurants and retail areas are set to open on Oct. 28. Circa's 777 rooms and suites in its 44-story tower will be available for New Year's.
Circa Resort & Casino, the first newbuild in downtown Las Vegas in four decades, will admit only those 21 and older. It was designed with decorative features that recall the city's storied past. Vegas Vickie, a 20-by-25-foot neon kicking-cowgirl sign that hovered over Fremont Street since 1980, is in one of the casino's prominent bars.
Project BBQ at Circa Resort & Casino features the Hogstravaganza platter with a 40-pound roasted pig for groups. Photo Credit: Paul Szydelko
Stadium Swim, a multitiered, rooftop pool complex, features a 135-by-41-foot, 14 million-megapixel LED screen, a DJ booth, two swim-up bars, six pools and two spas. As colder weather approaches, the fifth-level pools will be heated to 104 degrees, providing guests with an apres ski-like sensation.
Bars and restaurants include Barry's Downtown Prime steakhouse; Saginaw's Delicatessen, legendary Detroit restaurateur Paul Saginaw's first new restaurant outside Michigan; Victory Burger & Wings Co., from American Coney Island's Chris Sotiropoulos and Grace Keros; 8 East, the first pan-Asian restaurant from chef Dan Coughlin, with dishes and techniques across Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean and Thai cuisine; and Project BBQ, a Carolina-style "backyard" picnic on Fremont Street.