All around the world when people think of gambling, one of the first places that comes to mind is Las Vegas. And with gambling having become more and more on the forefront of American entertainment, there are now hundreds of casinos spread across the country. However, one of the many reasons why Vegas casinos are such a standout compared to the rest of the country is its incredible sports betting scene.
Nevada and Delaware are the only American states where sports betting is legal, but Delaware’s betting menu next to Vegas’ is a lemonade stand alongside a 5-star restaurant. The overall presentation and energy of a Vegas sportsbook is awesome, and undoubtedly one of the more exciting things you can be a part of during the day since the sports scene’s hours are primarily late morning to early evening.
Whether you’re on the strip or somewhere around town in a local casino, just about every casino has a sportsbook and most of them are large. It’s like walking into a big theatrical setting. You have the betting board conveniently off to the side showing the current lines of every sporting event happening that day and in front of you are many TVs. Some are small, a few are medium, and a few are huge. Depending on what’s going on that day the giant screens will either be showing the featured game on it, or it will be split into 2-4 screens.
There are always plenty of places to sit and the chairs are often the kind you can sink into. Leather, spacious, armrests, and if you’re at a place like the Bellagio they’ll recline too. If that’s not enough, you can always watch the game on one of their couches with an HD screen built into the table in front of you.
Inside the sportsbook you will also find the racebook, located on the other side. They too are packed with TVs showing all the current action of that day’s horse racing.
Since many people are serious about betting sports and the ponies, the average Vegas sportsbook also has many individual workspace slots and depending where you are some may have their own TV too. Some of them may be reserved for VIP players but quite often they are unoccupied, so anybody can sit and relax with their own desk.
The Betting Process
If you can’t find something to bet that’s on the board, somewhere off to the side are many additional pamphlets indicating more betting options for that day or for the future. Since there are so many options, there is cheering after just about every play as every outcome will have helped somebody.
On the betting board, each sporting team is labeled with a number and there are always numerous cashiers at the ready when you wish to make a bet. All you do is tell them what type of bet you want to make, (i.e. moneyline, straight bet, parlay) the team’s betting number(s), how much you’re betting, and 1-2-3 they print you a ticket clearly illustrating it all. Just make sure the ticket is correct and know you can’t talk on a cell phone when near the betting counter.
Most sportsbooks allow you to cash your ticket in for up to 120 days after the event has been completed. Some allow even longer than that, but either way you can get your money no problem because if say you bet on a future event (like who will win the next Super Bowl) and you’re out of town after a winner comes in you can mail it in for a check.
If you have a $100 winning ticket and wish to make a $100 bet, you don’t have to cash it in and bet again. You can hand over the ticket to be cashed but instead it will just be applied to your next bet. Just be careful with the tickets as they are small and flimsy. Losing your winning ticket is like losing cash. Should anyone happen to find it before you do and cash it in you’re screwed.
The Drinks and Eats
Being with a crowd in a sportsbook is as close to what it feels like to being at the game itself. Since there’s usually enough space to sit, you might as well make it a party. The nearest bar, sports food eatery, and bathroom is always nearby.
Unfortunately, Las Vegas sportsbooks have tightened up on the free alcohol. It wasn’t so long ago the cocktail waitresses would frequently come around and serve you anything you want, allowing you to have a great time at only a $1 tip per drink. Now they ask to see your drink ticket, with the most strict rules being at higher end places like the Wynn, Bellagio, or Aria.
To acquire a drink ticket, you ask for it at the betting counter but believe it or not, in the nicest casinos they are making you bet rather substantially these days just to obtain a single drink ticket. It’s usually around $100 and considering you can buy a drink from any of the numerous 24 hour bars inside the casino, there’s simply no logical explanation other than they’re trying to cut down on the traffic of drinks being served in the sportsbook.
If you’re looking for free alcohol without a hassle, your best bets are going to a place like the Westgate which has the biggest sportsbook in town or some of the local casinos that are a 20 or 30 minute drive off the strip. There they are much more lenient on giving away multiple drink tickets per bet and won’t require the bet is more than the minimum ($5 or $10). These new restrictions just deter people like me from going into the sportsbook to hang out, watch, and get drunk without giving the house a chance to make any money. The bettors themselves are still essentially drinking for free.
The biggest and loudest sportsbooks will be found on the heart of Las Vegas Blvd. Packed with tourists every NFL Sunday and for all other major sporting events, Strip sportsbooks are the most convenient and modern, so it may tailor to all its traffic. Every casino has one and whether you’re going to a higher end place like the Aria or the strip’s more second rate casinos like Circus Circus or the Stratosphere, you will have no problem finding a comfortable place to sit and a big enough TV.
Caesar’s Palace Sportsbook
Casino Royale Sportsbook
Circus Circus Sportsbook
Mandalay Bay Sportsbook
MGM Grand Sportsbook
Monte Carlo Sportsbook
New York-New York Sportsbook
The Cromwell Sportsbook
The LINQ Sportsbook
The Mirage Sportsbook
The Palazzo Sportsbook
The Venetian Sportsbook
As all of them are beautiful, some of the larger ones are the MGM Grand, Bellagio, and Mirage. While the smaller ones can be found at the Cosmopolitan, Aria, and Encore.
Off Strip Las Vegas Sportsbooks
There are casinos all over the greater Las Vegas area, and some of them do not distinctly fit into one region or another. Most of these are just off the Strip or otherwise densely populated and trafficked areas.
Arizona Charlie’s Boulder
Boulder Station Sportsbook
Downtown Grand Sportsbook
El Cortez Sportsbook
Four Queens Sportsbook
Gold Coast Sportsbook
Golden Nugget Sportsbook
Green Valley Ranch Sportsbook
Hard Rock Sportsbook
Palace Station Sportsbook
Red Rock Sportsbook
Sam’s Town Sportsbook
South Point Sportsbook
The California Sportsbook
The D Sportsbook
The M Resort Sportsbook
Sunset Station Sportsbook
The majority of off Strip sportsbooks cater almost exclusively to locals. As a matter of fact, most tourists probably don’t know that most of these casinos even exist. With that said, they can be a great place to watch a game in relative peace, and many offer great value.
If you go southeast of Las Vegas into Henderson, you’ll come across some of the Station Casinos like Boulder Station, Sunset Station, and Green Valley Ranch. Boulder is cited for its impressive size while Sunset’s is more modest. GVR has plenty of seating and has also recently updated and is now much more comparable to the higher end places on the strip with a whole fleet of leather club chairs. The most major drawback to this less glitzy local casino is the sportsbook is noticeably smokier. Smoking is allowed on all casino floors in Vegas, but on the strip, you seldom if ever notice.
The M Resort is far enough west that you’d be back in Las Vegas, but it too is far south of the strip. Go there and you’ll find yourself a rare smoke free sportsbook, but alcohol is not served either. However, if you’re a beer drinker there is a beer bar nearby with hundreds on tap.
Red Rock Resort is also part of the Station casinos and is its greatest standout and most attractive place to go to in this fresh looking western part of town. You don’t notice the smoke and unlike most sportsbooks which are typically “off the beaten path”, this sportsbook is right near an entrance. Like its strip counterparts it is large with plenty of seating and TVs.
The other 2 main casinos in Summerlin are the Suncoast and Rampart. The Suncoast is a little smoky, but it gets the job done. It’s not too big or too fancy, but if you’re looking to bet sports and maybe enjoy a more low key betting atmosphere you will most likely find it there.
Like Green Valley Ranch, Rampart has also recently updated its race and sportsbook and looks great, sporting flat screen TVs and reclining leather chairs at each workspace.
North Las Vegas Sportsbooks
North Las Vegas is a longer drive than any of the most attractive sportsbooks in Henderson or Summerlin, and it’s an older less attractive part of town overall. Still you will find a solid sportsbook at Aliante Casino with plenty of seating, workspace, and TVs. If you don’t want to go all the way up to Aliante but are going to be in a northern part of Vegas, you might want to try the Santa Fe Station casino.
You’ll find yourself a much smaller sportsbook environment in the original Las Vegas, bust most of them are still formidable. They all carry with them something of a funky energy, but that’s now the main part of downtown Vegas’ charm. If you’re looking for what’s most modern look no further than the still recently renovated Golden Nugget or the Downtown Grand, downtown’s newest sportsbook.
The world famous Binion’s also has plenty of space and TVs, and Plaza also ranks at the top. Sporting space, newer HDTVs, plenty of seating, and even cocktail tables. California feels old to be in but also has ample seating. It’s places like the Four Queens, Fremont, The D, and El Cortez that are all known for their smaller spaces and relatively “hidden” from the rest of the casino.
Most Popular Las Vegas Sportsbooks
As the most memorable sportsbooks are on the strip, the most unique one is perhaps Lagasse’s Stadium at The Palazzo. While it’s one of the smallest and darkest sportsbooks, Lagasse’s Stadium features stadium style seating. Ascending with premium leather sofas and chaises, it’s as comfortable as it gets. The only drawback is you have to get there early before it fills up.
Connected to The Palazzo and also powered by CG Technology is the Venetian. CG also powers the Cosmopolitan, Tropicana, Hard Rock, Palms, Tropicana, M, and Silverton. It’s of course just a matter of preference, but CG’s sportsbook setup is the most attractive presented extremely colorfully and decadently.
The hottest sportsbook right now belongs to the Wynn. After closing for several months for renovations, the Wynn reopened its book around the fall of 2017 and is a huge attraction for bettors. In conjunction with its renovations the deli Zooza Crackers, which was adjacent to the sportsbook closed and has been replaced with the restaurant Charlie’s Bar and Grill.
Other Las Vegas Sportsbook Appeals
As mentioned before, sportsbooks tend to be off the beaten path because that is the case for the poker room which sportsbooks are frequently adjacent to. Even though the action is either done or almost done by 7:00 PM and definitely by 10:30, the South Point sportsbook accepts bets 24 hours a day while most other book’s hours are usually between 8:00 AM and 10:00 PM.
The sportsbooks never feature any of the Pay-Per-View fights in boxing or the UFC and many of them now charge a hefty admission to actually sit in for the Super Bowl. However, they are open to walk into all night after hours with Sportscenter constantly rerunning along with other sports related programs, and it’s just a nice quiet area to go relax in late at night if you need to make a phone call or would like to take a breather from Las Vegas’ relentless madness.