For a variety of legit reasons, Las Vegas' newest upcoming attraction is a lock
Move over Westgate, there's a new shooter in town.
October 28th will see the launch of the highly anticipated Circa Resort and and Casino in downtown Las Vegas. Starting sooner than expected, it will feature the introduction of a 1.25 million-square-foot integrated casino-resort comprising five floors of amenities and a unique three-story sportsbook with 1,000 employees working to ensure a world-class experience for guests.
From inception, the central concept was to build the world's largest sportsbook, with the most talked-about amenities for players. The Circa Sportsbook will not only feature the largest possible video screens, but will house a new television studio home for VSIN, plus audio studios for radio remotes and podcasts. Think a sports betting stadium to host as many as a thousand screaming fans during major events like a World Series or Super Bowl. Or, a place for nightly social event parties that both rabid sports fans and sports gamblers would want to attend.
The Circa would create the excitement the Westgate often did in its heyday featuring the newest bells and whistles, in a better location to attract a new, diversified crowd. Known for his creativity and vision, CEO and developer Derek Stevens has promised an adults-only experience, open only to those 21 and older. It will be the first Vegas casino and resort to ban underage visitors.
In comparison to the Westgate, or what was also known as the Las Vegas Hilton Sportsbook in prior years, is an excellent downtown location for the new Circa. As part of the "Freemont Street Experience"' all will be part of the renaissance of downtown Las Vegas and an easier walking tour for both locals and tourists who visit. The 9-story "Garage Mahal" parking garage is the first of its kind, specifically designed for ride sharing Uber and Lyft and room for over 1,200 spaces.
Although the Westgate has held the national spotlight as the country’s largest book for several years, it has often been challenging for visitors to reach. The hotel sits at the North end of the Vegas strip and without local transportation, it is not within easy walkable distance from other major strip hotels. Plenty of parking lot room for locals, but as the years have gone forward, many newer strip hotels have eclipsed their dominance as the go-to LV onsite sportsbook.
The Featured Event
The Westgate Las Vegas SuperContest is the granddaddy of all football handicapping contests. In place for over twenty years, it has grown in stature and prize money. There were 3,328 entrants in last year's $1,500 buy-in SuperContest with one winner taking home just under $1.5 million. This year, the SuperContest will offer quarterly prizes for the first time. First place each quarter wins $100,000.
With new competition from the Circa, SuperContest Gold and the SuperContest Mid-season Reboot join the main handicapping contest this year. SuperContest Gold has a $5,000 entry fee. This is a winner take all contest with similar rules as the traditional contest. The SuperContest Mid-season Reboot is the mid-season contest for weeks #9 – #17. The smaller contest has an entry fee of $500.
Premiering this year in the new building, Circa Sports Millions returns for its second year with more prize money and a new contest. The prizes are boosted in the original Circa Sports Million football handicapping contest. The winner is guaranteed $1 million.
Meanwhile, the contestant with the absolute worst record after all 17 weeks of the season will take home a "boobie prize" of $100,000. Additionally, quarterly prizes will be given out four times during the season. The top quarterly prize is $150,000. Second place each quarter wins $75,000. Third place each quarter takes home $25,000.
Beginning this year Circa will also offer a survivor contest for sports bettors that are looking to choose a different type of contest. Circa Survivor is a winner take all contest with a prize of $1 million. Entry fees for all contests are available through the Circa website.
Here is the most important message that will not show up on the record-breaking monolith screens inside the Circa Sportsbook. The intriguing part of reviewing the first year of the Circa Sportsbooks results will be defining the long debate over the onsite vs. online sports bettor.
For several years, Las Vegas casino titan Sheldon Adelson has fought diligently to argue that online gaming will erode and cannibalize the overall profits and bottom line of the casino industry. Adelson's created agency RAWA (Restoration of America’s Wire Act) has sought legal grounds and invested thousands of dollars in attempt to end online gambling's progressive growth throughout the U.S.
It is quite ironic that a new major tourist attraction like the Circa Sportsbook will now join other sportsbooks in the U.S. to further test his misguided theory. But here, in a two-part marketing strategy, we would assume the Circa would be first inviting Vegas locals inside to sign-up to their own sportsbook and depart loyally using their online app and online services to wager. Of course, while onsite, utilize all promotion opportunities to eat, party, gamble in the casino, potentially stay overnight at the hotel, etc.
Visitors to Las Vegas would NOT be cannibalizing any potential revenue source. In fact, in this case tourists would have an incentive to enhance revenue possibility by having a unique reason to stay within the premises, watch and wager on sports as they are within the legal confines of Nevada. Therefore, beyond any reasonable doubt proving Adelson continues to be completely wrong, as all casino revenue figures for all U.S. states inviting online gaming also prove.
Model for the Future?
It will be interesting to watch for the likely success and publicity of the Circa Sportsbook as it debuts in late October and during its first year. It should get a ribbon-cutting boost occurring simultaneously to the 2020 World Series, NBA Finals and NHL Stanley Cup Finals.
With its size and long-standing reputation, also look for the Westgate to respond and likely fight back. And who knows, why not build a mega-sportsbook in Atlantic City, N.J. as well? From there, any new U.S. state with sports wagering might want to build their own signature sports wagering palace as well.
No doubt the numbers will continue to skew 80-85% for the online bettor. But we all gotta get out of the house to go someplace special to scream with our friends (and bet) once in a while. Let's all put on our masks, stay at least six safe feet apart with our cell phones and find out if the Circa Sportsbook is the future of in-person sports betting.
Glenn Greene covers the games from a betting angle every week exclusively at OSGA.com. For weekly betting insights, including previews and picks from Glenn, click here.