It’s easy to understand why sportsbook development hasn’t been a front-burner issue for most U.S. gaming operators—simply stated, parimutuel wagering has been on a decades-long decline and actual wagering on sporting events was only legal in a single state. Indeed, outside of Nevada, when most operators contemplated the future of their existing sportsbooks, it was with an eye toward converting these spaces to house slots and other more lucrative forms of casino gaming and entertainment.
But my how the thinking has changed, at least when it comes to casino-based sportsbooks. Thanks in large part to the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturn of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), jurisdictions from Maine to California and all areas in between are either contemplating or actually enacting enabling legislation to allow for sports betting. In turn, this is leading a number of land-based gaming resorts to either plan, open or refurbish existing sportsbooks, with the hope of capturing a slice of this potentially lucrative new market.
These new and renovated sports betting spaces should not be confused with the staid sportsbooks of the past. Advancements in betting, display, seating and mobile technologies are allowing for the creation of sportsbook spaces that are modern, comfortable and contain the amenities that can appeal to the increasingly diverse casino attendee base. What follows are some descriptions of recently opened sportsbooks, told by operators and designers in their own words.
Rivers Casino & Resort, Schenectady, N.Y.
Located directly off the casino’s main gaming floor, the new Rivers Sportsbook, which was designed by DMAC Architecture of Chicago, is a luxury sports lounge and occupies just over 5,000 square feet. Club chairs and table seating accommodate approximately 80 guests and include five private booths with TV monitors—each accommodating up to six people. The lounge also includes18 individual VIP seats and 32 tabletop seats.
Rivers Sportsbook has an impressive state-of-the art 53-foot x 9-foot LED video wall that anchors the sportsbook viewing area, along with 22 additional TV monitors. The sportsbook also includes 14 betting kiosks and six staffed betting windows to accommodate guests.
According to DMAC Architecture, the sportsbook was designed to appeal to both local, non-gamers and gaming enthusiasts. The sportsbook offers stadium lounge seating, a neutral color palette, high-end materials and decorative lighting, as well as a ceiling truss design that recreates the look of the trellis bridges in Schenectady’s old railway yard.
Rivers Sportsbook will offer betting on a wide array of sporting events including professional football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer; college sports, and more. Bets are expected to include, but not be limited to, straight bets, parlays, totals and in-game betting. Wagers can be placed at the betting counter with a live sportsbook writer during Rivers Sportsbook hours of operation or at a sports betting kiosk 24 hours a day.
Rivers Casino’s sports wagering supplier is Rush Street Interactive LLC (RSI), an award-winning gaming company that develops and operates real-money, in-casino and online sportsbooks. Rush Street Interactive will bring the same high-quality, in-casino sportsbook solution to Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady as players in the state of Pennsylvania have been enjoying since 2018. RSI provides its in-casino sportsbook service to the top two performing retail sportsbooks in the state of Pennsylvania; Rivers Casino Pittsburgh and SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia, which collectively account for over 50 percent of all retail sports betting handle in the state since the market opened.
Recently recognized as the number one tourist destination in New York’s Capital Region, the sportsbook lounge will complement the various amenities already offered by Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady, which includes 1,150 slots, 67 live table games, a 16-table poker room, five distinctive restaurants, entertainment lounge, event space and The Landing Hotel, a recently opened 165-room, six-story boutique hotel.
“We’re so proud to be the first gaming operator in New York to take legal sports bets,” said Justin Moore, acting general manager for Rivers Casino & Resort Schenectady. “Many people worked very hard to make legal sports wagering a reality in New York state, and we thank all of them for their tireless efforts and dedication. Sports fans and bettors from across the Capital Region and beyond will be thrilled with our new state-of-the-art Rivers Sportsbook lounge.”
TAP Book, Bar & Bistreaux
Beau Rivage, Biloxi, Miss.
Beau Rivage, MGM Resort International’s AAA Four Diamond resort in Coastal Mississippi, recently opened TAP Book, Bar & Bistreaux, which hopes to become the Southeast’s premier sports betting, entertainment and dining destination.
Set among sturdy brick and ironwork, exposed beams and welcoming earth tones, TAP celebrates modern technology with more than 100 HD screens including a massive 24-foot wide by 14-foot tall video wall. Its 70 screens can operate individually, in various combinations or as one huge display, and are flanked by two additional video walls for an immersive high-impact audio and visual experience throughout the 7,000-square-foot space. Fourteen carrels with individual HD touch-enabled monitors allow guests to watch sports with interactive controls.
Inspired by its coastal location, TAP’s nautically-influenced interior features the comfort, detail and craftsmanship of a luxury yacht. Walnut tabletops, beautiful quartz bar tops, rustic end grain-cut wood flooring, textured wallcoverings and wood and stitched leather panels add a clean and tailored warmth to the space. Sports fans can relax on plush sofas and lounge chairs, take a seat at two different bars, three video poker counters, or sit and dine while watching their favorite sporting event. Two VIP lounges offer even more exclusive experiences. TAP’s main center bar has video poker machines and comfortable flex-back seating. For convenience, guests will find free Wi-Fi and power charging at the bars, cocktail tables and arm chairs within the smoke-free venue.
True to its name, each of TAP’s bar areas serve up 15 beers on tap, including seasonal and regional favorites. More than 30 bottled craft beer selections can also be found along with contemporary cocktails and wines by the glass and bottle.
TAP also feature a collection of elevated comfort food and American sports bar classics.
The new sports wagering concept joins Beau Rivage’s long list of amenities, which includes
1,740 guest rooms and suites, nine restaurants, an 85,000-square-foot gaming area, a 1,550-seat theatre, an upscale shopping promenade, a spa and Fallen Oak, a Tom Fazio-designed championship golf course.
“Since Beau Rivage launched legalized sports betting in Mississippi last August, we have ushered in a new era for sports entertainment and driven more and new visitors to the region,” said Travis Lunn, president and COO of Beau Rivage. “MGM Resorts is the trusted leader in sport betting and Beau Rivage’s new multimillion-dollar state-of-the-art TAP Book, Bar and Bistreaux raises the stakes yet again by offering a Southern twist on the respected TAP brand for a new high-energy sports entertainment experience like no other.”
The Lounge with Caesars Sports
Turning Stone Resort Casino, Verona, N.Y.
Point Place Casino, Bridgeport, N.Y.
The Oneida Indian Nation is partnering with Caesars Entertainment to open The Lounge with Caesars Sports sportsbooks at two Oneida Nation New York-based properties—Turning Stone Resort Casino and Point Place Casino.
The Lounge with Caesars Sports is also scheduled to open at the Oneida Nation’s Yellow Brick Road Casino for the start of the NFL regular season.
The Lounge with Caesars Sports venues at the Oneida Indian Nation’s casinos will feature LED terminals with high-definition resolution, state-of-the-art odds boards that constantly update and offer opportunities for in-game wagers, as well as new full-service bars, ticket windows, ultra-comfortable seating and VIP areas with their own dedicated TV screens.
At Turning Stone, The Lounge with Caesars Sports will be prominently located at the resort’s main entrance. It will feature a massive 500-square-foot curved LED screen, with acuity similar to Times Square, visible from three sides and to visitors entering from the main entrance and the parking garage. There are also an additional 16 large LED TVs throughout the sportsbook, including a mix of 65-inch screens and 85-inch screens to put the viewers at the center of the sports action.
The new sports book at Point Place Casino will be in the newly expanded gaming floor, with the primary video wall featuring a 24-foot HD LED screen, plus an additional 30 LED TVs throughout the space, a mix of both 65-inch screens and 85-inch screens.
Sports fans also have an opportunity to join the Oneida Indian Nation’s just-launched Champions Fan Club to receive the latest sportsbook news and information about exclusive events and become eligible for special offers. The Champions Fan Club is completely free to join.
Through this new relationship, Turning Stone, Yellow Brick Road and Point Place Casino players will be able to exchange and redeem their TS Rewards loyalty points, as well as have their player tier levels matched, for Caesars Rewards Points at all Caesars properties, with the same exchange available for Caesars players at Oneida Indian Nation properties. Caesars will also sponsor special player promotions and events at its new partner venues, further bringing the excitement of Las Vegas to New York at the Oneida Indian Nation’s gaming venues.
Multi-level, stadium-style sportsbook
Circa Resort & Casino, Las Vegas
Developers and brothers Derek and Greg Stevens have officially unveiled plans for Circa Resort & Casino, a brand-new integrated gaming resort in Downtown Las Vegas slated to open in December 2020.
The first ground-up resort development in the area since 1980, Circa will celebrate the timeless spirit of the city while leading the charge for a bold new era with game-changing guest offerings. Front and center among these offering will be a multi-level, stadium-style sportsbook, equipped with the biggest screen in sportsbook history. The Stevens brothers recently announced a partnership with sports gaming media organization Vegas Stats and Information Network (VSiN) to bring an in-house broadcast studio to Circa. This will allow bettors to have in-depth analysis from a roster of experts including broadcasters, industry professionals and athletes.
Circa will also be home to a state-of-the art parking structure playfully dubbed “Garage Mahal,” specifically designed with ride-sharing in mind. Catering to the growing use of Uber and Lyft, and housing 1,201 parking spaces, the centrally located nine-story garage will be the first of its kind in Downtown Las Vegas, allowing guests to conveniently and efficiently travel to and from the property.
Construction is currently underway on the 1.25-million-square-foot property, which will punctuate the Las Vegas skyline as the tallest tower north of the Strip. The resort will be defined by a bold design, accented by a backlit roofline and an expansive multi-tiered pool amphitheater. Featuring several pools and a massive screen with the latest high-resolution technology, the amphitheater will offer a unique watch-party atmosphere for sunseekers and sports fans. The venue will be complemented by a delicious food and beverage menu, private cabanas and music from DJs and special guests.
Other amenities, including a range of eclectic restaurants, the longest outdoor bar on Fremont Street Experience, a rejuvenating spa and a two-level casino with state-of-the-art slot and table gaming options.
Circa has collaborated with Steelman Partners to oversee architecture and design, Tré Builders as construction manager, and McCarthy Building Companies as contractor.
“There is a lot of unmet demand for fun in Las Vegas,” said Derek Stevens. “At Circa, our goal is to create a destination resort in a historic part of the city, while showing guests the time of their lives. We plan to double down on the world-class service Las Vegas has always been known for while bringing personalized experiences to a new level.”