Rumor: William Hill To Operate Caesars Palace Sportsbook

Caesars Palace Las Vegas Sportsbook
Caesars Palace Sportsbook

While I was away on vacation last week I received an interesting tip from a trusted source:

William Hill would take over operations of the Caesars Palace sportsbook once the current renovations are complete.

This will essentially be a trial run for William Hill only at Caesars Palace. No other Caesars Entertainment properties will be a part of this initial trial run. If all goes well at Caesars Palace then William Hill will take over operations of all Caesars Entertainment sportsbooks.

Caesars Entertainment operates the casino and sportsbooks at Bally’s, The Cromwell (kiosks only), Flamingo, Harrah’s, Paris, Planet Hollywood, The Quad and Rio in Las Vegas in addition to Caesars Palace.

This isn’t the first time that there has been discussion about an outside sportsbook operator taking over activity for Caesars Entertainment. Back in 2011 and 2012 there were heavy rumors that Cantor Gaming (now CG Technologies) would take over operations. That ended with legal problems at Cantor Gaming.

I asked William Hill for a comment and they said “We don’t comment on rumors.” I’ll pass on more details as I hear them.

Photo: Xfinity

UFC 173 Viewing Parties

UFC 173 barao vs. dillashaw
UFC 173

Las Vegas is home to the UFC and people here love MMA of all kinds. The casinos don’t show pay per view fights (boxing or UFC) so you can’t watch these fights in a sportsbook.

Since Station Casinos owns part of the UFC they throw viewing parties at some of their casinos for each Pay Per View. The casinos are different for each pay per view. Here are their parties for the UFC fights this weekend.

The below parties have doors at 5 p.m., $10 cover and are 21 years or older.

  • Grand Ballroom at Palace Station
  • Club Madrid at Sunset Station
  • Chrome Showroom at Santa Fe Station
  • Rocks Lounge at Red Rock Resort
  • Lobby Bar at Green Valley Ranch

Wildfire Valley View will also host a free viewing party in its lounge area.

 You can usually watch the preliminary fights in the sportsbook. Station Casinos cannot take bets on UFC because of their partnership. If you want to bet UFC fights you might want to load up a William Hill or Cantor Gaming account.

Crazy Wide Disparity In US World Cup Odds

US Men's Soccer Team
US Men’s Soccer Team

Earlier today Todd Fuhrman from Don Best, Fox Sports, etc. tweeted the odds for the US Men’s Soccer team to win the World Cup from various sportsbook operators. They were all over the place!

Each sportsbook caters their point spread and odds to their customer. You’ll generally find the sharpest odds at LVHCaesars and MGM cater mostly to tourists on the Vegas Strip who will not be the most savvy on soccer as much as they’ll want to support their country. It’s no surprise that the US soccer team odds are where they are.

Following smart people like @ToddFuhrman will help you learn about the sports betting industry. Leaning the clientele of each casino and sportsbook operator will go a long way to finding the best line value. Shopping around is always an important way to get the best value for your bets.

Photo: US Soccer

UFC 172 Viewing Parties

UFC 172 Poster
UFC 172

Las Vegas is home to the UFC and people here looooove MMA of all kinds. The casinos don’t show pay per view fights (boxing or UFC) so you can’t watch these fights in a sportsbook.

Since Station Casinos owns part of the UFC they throw viewing parties at some of their casinos for each Pay Per View. The casinos are different for each pay per view. Here are their parties for the UFC fights this weekend.

The below parties have doors at 5 p.m., $10 cover and are 21 years or older.

  • Grand Ballroom at Palace Station
  • Club Madrid at Sunset Station
  • Chrome Showroom at Santa Fe Station
  • Rocks Lounge at Red Rock Resort
  • Lobby Bar at Green Valley Ranch
  • Wildfire Valley View will also host a free viewing party in its lounge area.

You can usually watch the preliminary fights in the sportsbook. Station Casinos cannot take bets on UFC because of their partnership. If you want to bet UFC fights you might want to load up a William Hill or Cantor Gaming account.

How Long Until Sheldon Adelson Dumps Cantor Gaming From The Venetian?

Sheldon Adelson Las Vegas Sands
Sheldon Adelson

Last year Sheldon Adelson, big boss at Las Vegas Sands, decided that he would fight online gaming instead of welcoming it into his casino business. He’s so against online gaming that he’s now crusading to stop it.

Adelson is preparing a public campaign to portray online gambling as a danger to children, the poor and others who could be exploited by easy access to Internet betting.

I think it’s a strange use of money to fight against the industry that made Sheldon Adelson billions, but what do I know. Like many other casino operators Las Vegas Sands (The Venetian, The Palazzo, etc.) has been positioning itself as a landlord more than a casino operator. Fighting online gaming simply looks as if it’s another way for Adelson to shake the “stigma” of being seen as just a casino guy.

I find it interesting that Las Vegas Sands keeps Cantor Gaming as the sportsbook operator at The Venetian and The Palazzo. While those are fantastic physical sportsbooks you are encouraged by Cantor Gaming to sign up for a mobile account where you can bet on games anywhere in Nevada.

Since its inception Cantor Gaming has been on the forefront of moving sports betting with cutting edge technology. Ultimately they’d like you to be able to bet on games anywhere that its legal. Additionally you can use a Cantor mobile device to play traditional casino games on property. This isn’t a battery operated game. This is online gambling supported by Las Vegas Sands.

Cantor Gaming sounds like a company Sheldon Adelson should be fighting, not embracing. 

Lagasse’s Stadium at the Palazzo and the traditional sportsbook The Venetian are my two favorite sportsbooks in Vegas. I don’t want to see them go away.

Back to the beginning of this discussion: Until Adelson removes Cantor Gaming from operating on his properties it’s difficult to take his fight against online gaming seriously

Photo: The Week

Best Las Vegas Sportsbooks

Lagasse's Stadium Sportsbook And Restaurant At Palazzo Las Vegas
Lagasse’s Stadium

I didn’t plan on going over the best Las Vegas sportbooks because there’s no such thing as a bad sportsbook. There are varying degrees of greatness but sportsbooks are the best place in the casino as far as I’m concerned. Since I’m at sportsbooks often people ask my opinion so I figured that I should have a current list as football season is upon us.

My main criteria for the best sportsbooks are TV’s, cleanliness and service. Watching the games is the reason I’m at the sportsbook so the quality of the TV screens usually matters more than anything else. That said, I don’t smoke and don’t want leave the sportsbook smelling like an ashtray.

Let’s look at the best sportsbooks in Las Vegas.

Lagasse's Stadium at Palazzo Las Vegas

1. Lagasse’s Stadium (The Palazzo)

Lagasse’s Stadium may be the greatest place on earth. Lagasse’s Stadium is the best sportsbook in Las Vegas because it’s more than a sportsbook. Lagasse’s Stadium, located inside The Palazzo, is also a bar, restaurant, casino and lounge. The main area has stadium couch seating and is surrounded by couches above and cocktail tables above and to the side. Waitresses are plentiful so there’s never a time you should be without food or drink. This is a benefit and a curse. You almost feel compelled to eat and/or drink when you watch the games at Lagasse’s Stadium. That can get pricey. For NFL Sunday’s and major sporting events you’ll have to pay a minimum per person for food and drink (usually $50 or $100). Reservations are always recommended for these days. The only other reservation about Lagasse’s Stadium is that the main seating area TV screens are showing their age and could use updating. Regardless, Lagasse’s Stadium is the best sportsbook in Las Vegas (and the world). Photo: Vegas.com

The Venetian Las Vegas Sportsbook

2. The Venetian

The Venetian sportsbook is the best free sportsbook in Las Vegas. The Venetian sportsbook renovation is going on two years now but it still looks brand new. The lighting and TV screens at The Venetian sportsbook are by far the best and brightest of any sportsbook in Las Vegas. The Venetian sportsbook is operated by Cantor Gaming and looks similar to all of their sportsbooks in Las Vegas with red desks and big office chairs. If it wasn’t for those beautiful TV screens this sportsbook would have zero vibe but those TV screens make up for any lack of atmosphere from the decor. The desks have outlets should you need to power your phone. Between the lack of cocktail waitresses and the condescending Cantor Gaming staff don’t expect good service. The saving grace for service at the The Venetian sportsbook are the quick and polite bartenders. The poor service is masked by those gorgeous TV’s.

 

The Mirage Las Vegas Sportsbook

3. The Mirage

The Mirage returned to being one of the best sportsbooks in Las Vegas when they renovated in March 2013. The  Mirage sportsbook renovation removed about a third of the old desk seating and replaced it with big comfy chairs. As part of the renovation The Mirage also added a gigantic TV screen that spans almost the entire huge sportsbook. This screen is flexible and can fit just about every game with each game being sized to the amount of interest. The sportsbook manager decides which games shown and what size they are based on bets made so if you want to see a game make sure you place your bets here. The Vegas Parlay says you might even score a free drink ticket if you bet here. The Mirage sportsbook is one of the most legendary sportsbooks in Las Vegas and these renovations restore that luster. Photo: Vegas Chatter

Red Rock Resort Sportsbook

4. Red Rock Resort

The sportsbook at Red Rock Resort is without a doubt the best sportsbook off the Vegas Strip. The best quality of the Red Rock sportsbook is it’s size and flexibility. It’s huge and has 3 enormous projection screens which can fit anywhere from 1 to 4 games each. The seating is made up with 2/3rd’s desk, dinner chairs and individual TV’s and 1/3rd lounge chairs. Cocktail waitresses are always walking around so drinks flow quickly. Depending on your ticket writer drink tickets can be fairly easy to come by. If you don’t get one just ask. The Red Rock sportsbook is always packed for football and the energy is great. There is a bar in the back of the sportsbook that offers more chairs and great bartenders. I may be partial because it’s my local bar.

Wynn Las Vegas Sportsbook

5. Wynn

Wynn is still has one of the nicest casinos on the strip even though it’s beginning to show its age. That age is most noticeable in their sportsbook. Wynn opened in 2005 but when you’re sitting in the large sportsbook it may as well be 1995. The sportsbook is comfortable and has ample seating and TV’s for any football Sunday but everything from the TV’s to the seating could use a little updating. While there are many TV’s they aren’t the massive screens available at the other sportsbooks on this list. The Wynn sportsbook is one of the few remaining independently operated sportsbooks and you’ll always get fair lines here. You may also get a drink ticket or two. The Wynn/Encore combination is a great casino complex and the Wynn sportsbook is still a fine place to watch the games. Photo: Flickr

Cover Photo: CBS Local

Golf Is The Worst

Henrik Stenson
Henrik Stenson

Betting on sports probably makes up the majority of my gaming. I usually play video poker, craps and blackjack when I’m in a casino but with apps from William Hill and Station Casinos (I don’t bet with Cantor Gaming) I can bet on sports anywhere and I do.

Baseball is my game of choice when I’m at the sportsbook. I’ve loved baseball for my whole life. I play multiple games a week, in part, because it’s nice having a little action while I’m watching the games. When football season gets here I’ll be playing college and pro and when the NBA season kicks off I’ll play that. All of these sports give me a major sport, that I enjoy, to wager on all year around.

I step outside of the sports that I like every now and again when there are major events that I know I’ll be reading about and be curious to watch. I’ll wager on March Madness, Daytona 500 and some of the major Golf tournaments throughout the year. This year I bet on Jason Day to win The Masters. He hung around for the entire tournament and forced me to watch the whole tournament before finally losing. I had a bet on Graeme McDowell to win The British Open and he was out before the first day was even over. Losing stinks but I was able to enjoy my weekend.

Last weekend, at the PGA Championship, I had Henrik Stenson (25-1) and he made me miserable. I couldn’t turn away from the tournament but I couldn’t watch it because I didn’t really care about anything but my bet. He was in and out of contention all weekend making me curious enough to stay near a TV so I could always keep an eye on the bet. The odds for most of these players are somewhere between 20-1 and 50-1 so there is potential to collect a nice win on the line.

I used to play golf pretty often but haven’t played in a while. At this rate I’m not sure I’ll pick up the sticks any time soon. The longer it is since the last time I played golf the less interested in watching the pro game I am. Still, I have a little curiosity about gambling on these tournaments because it’s nice to hit a relatively long shot regardless of my enjoyment watching the game.

Betting on golf can be awful because of that. If my player has an awful first day or two then I have no hope to win my bet. If the player does well I’m stuck watching. Wagering on golf a lose-lose proposition – especially because I can’t pick a winner.

Betting on golf can be great for some people who enjoy the game because you can spend 4 days in a sportsbook rooting for a $5 bet which may pay as much as $500. I’m not one of those people and I think I’m done betting on golf…until the next time I can bet on Jason Day at 20-1. Damn, I think I’m already back.

Photo: CBS 

Over 4% Of English iPhone Users Have Sports Betting Apps

William Hill Mobile App
William Hill Mobile App

Mobile gaming is just beginning and sports bettors in the United Kingdom are leading the way. Over 4% of iPhone users have a sports betting app on their phone.

In December 2012, comScore estimated that there were 8.65m active iPhone users in the UK. If that figure has stayed constant, based on Onavo’s 4.3% figure, it would mean around 372k Brits are using sports betting apps on their iPhones.

Rosen says that companies in the US are watching the UK closely, since it’s one of the most established mobile gambling markets in the world, ahead of what they hope will be legislation to make real-money gambling legal on mobile phones across the US.

William Hill leads the way with app use in the UK with more than 1/3rd of those sports betting apps in use being theirs. 38% of sports betting apps in use belong to William Hill. People with the William Hill app use it about 4 times a month. That’s second behind Bet 365 whose app is used over 5 times a month.

I’m not sure this is 100% applicable but if you translated these numbers to the population of Nevada (2 million in NV vs. 63 mm in UK) there would be about 11,000 mobile sports bettors between the William Hill, Cantor Gaming and Station Casinos sports betting apps. They’d be making somewhere between 40,000 and 50,000 wagers per month coming from iPhones alone.

With mobile gaming and mobile sports betting still in its infancy I think those 3 companies in the US would be satisfied with those results. As the legality of online gaming expands so will that number and these companies will be the leaders.

Sports Betting Kiosks Gone, Soon To Be Forgotten

William Hill Sports Betting Kiosk
William Hill Sports Betting Kiosk

Sports betting kiosks by William Hill and Cantor Gaming are getting the boot from bars across Nevada. While there are some negatives to kiosks getting banned this it’s not really a big deal for business.

(Joe Asher, CEO of William Hill Corp.) argues that only $600,000 of the $170 million won in sports pools came in these small businesses. That’s one-third of 1 percent, he says.

I didn’t think that the sports betting kiosks were big money makers but that’s much less revenue generated then I expected. I always viewed the kiosks as more of a place holder until every sports bettor in Nevada has a smart phone with a sports betting app from their favorite casino or sportsbook operator. That time isn’t too far off.

We’re on the cusp of a mobile gaming revolution as sports betting expands and poker becomes legal again. Slot machine and video poker games won’t be far behind. The kiosks being banned by government should help expedite the move to mobile by bettors.

I mentioned that there is something negative here and it’s simply that major casino corporations have a stronghold on the Nevada government. You know, like every other major group of businesses. Station Casinos isn’t in the kiosk game and fought strongly against the kiosks. Any traditional casino operator would likely fight against any gaming that keeps people out of their casino. I don’t think that the sportsbook operators fought too hard here. After all, “it’s only one-third of one percent” of sports betting win. Their words, not mine.

Photo: Review Journal

William Hill Dominating Downtown Vegas Sportsbooks

Downtown Grand 3rd Street Rendering In Downtown Las Vegas
Downtown Grand 3rd Street Rendering

First William Hill added The D to their growing list of sportsbooks in Las Vegas. Then William Hill added the huge sportsbook at The Plaza (see pics and review at Vegas Chatter). Next up William Hill will be a part of the soon-to-be-opened Downtown Grand.

The next major casino project to open in Las Vegas will feature a new William Hill Sports Book under a long term agreement with Fifth Street Gaming, developer and operator of the Downtown Grand Casino & Hotel. The property is expected to open in September…

…The new sports book will have a William Hill storefront and dedicated entrance on Downtown3rd, with an outdoor look similar to William Hill’s 2,400 betting shops in the UK.

William Hill is an independent sportsbook operator similar to Cantor Gaming. They operate sportsbooks at quite a few casinos in Las Vegas and all of Nevada. In addition they have sports betting kiosks in a variety of bars across the state along with an easy to use app. They can essentially facilitate sports betting anywhere it’s legal.

While Cantor Gaming targets the high-end customer William Hill is more focused on the every day gambler. Neither approach is right or wrong – it’s just different. If you like free drinks, head to a William Hill sportsbook. If you want to bet 5 figures, you can head to a Cantor Gaming sportsbook.

Downtown Grand seems as if it will be an awesome casino once it opens. Besides this announcement and outdoor gaming everything inside the casino and hotel seem like it will be a great addition to downtown Vegas.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that sports betting (kiosk & sportsbook) at Four Queens, Golden Gate and Binions in Downtown Vegas is also done with William Hill. Those casinos just have kiosks, not actual sportsbooks.