It’s time for my semi-annual update of the best sportsbooks in Las Vegas. There hasn’t been much change since the last time I detailed my favorite Vegas sportsbooks. Here are some things to note with my rankings:
I’m mostly concerned with great TV screens and comfortable seating.
Since I bet mostly via apps I don’t concern myself too much with finding drink tickets. Besides, they’re usually only good for a well drink, Bud, Miller or Coors. Bleh.
I care about access to charging my mobile phone.
Drink service is important as is access to grabbing a quick bite.
I like a clean environment. I don’t want to itch when I walk in or out of a casino.
Without a doubt there are no better TV screens at any sportsbook in Las Vegas than The Venetian. The combination of crisp color of the TV’s and the dark ceiling and perfect lighting make this almost like going to a movie theater. The seating is the same as every CG Technology (Cantor) sportsbook. The ugly red work desks don’t really matter since you’re watching the games. The chairs are comfortable office chairs. Each betting station has an outlet so you can charge your mobile phone, tablet or laptop. Even though the staff isn’t always nice there isn’t a better sportsbook to watch the games.
The Mirage was the Mecca of sports betting in the 70’s and 80’s 90’s but had fallen into disrepair until a couple of years ago. The space remains as one of the largest sportsbooks in Vegas but there is now a huge TV screen that takes up the entire wall and plenty of lounge chairs. They even installed some interactive tables that will come in handy for drink service and more (see article on Vegas Chatter). The sportsbook is open to the casino so the lighting isn’t as good as The Venetian but it doesn’t hamper visibility. It’s great to see this classic sportsbook restored to its glory.
I’ve come around on this sportsbook. I don’t really like MGM Grand because it’s huge and has way too many kids for Vegas. That said, the sportsbook here is large with many upgraded seats. It’s easy to watch games here since there are so many large screens. With its proximity to TAP sports bar (review on Vegas Chatter) and the Sigma Derby game make it a great location. Pro-Tip don’t use the restroom near the buffet. Instead head toward the Sigma Derby game to relieve yourself without the leftovers from someone’s buffet.
This is my local sportsbook so I may be partial. The space is huge with seating for hundreds. The three main screens are massive and change size depending on how many games are on. The downside is that they’re older and could use updating. I’ve been to many of the sportsbooks off the Vegas Strip and no other sportsbook matches the intensity of when there are football games being shown here. Additionally, drink service is quick and they do offer drink tickets.
2 years ago Lagasse’s Stadium was the benchmark for a great sportsbook. What’s happened? Poor service (which matters a lot since it’s a restaurant) and the same screens from when they opened. It’s still a good sportsbook when it’s not busy but there are now issues during large events and NFL games. 1) Seating is limited and reservations no longer secure space needed for large parties. 2) Mediocre restaurant service 3) Table minimums around $50 per person for most Sunday’s.
SuperBook has the best linemakers in Las Vegas. There’s no questioning that. Even though they don’t allow smoking in the sportsbook it feels like they do. Sitting at this sportsbook is not fun. The sportsbook smells bad and the air makes me itch. I’ll revisit after they complete the pending renovations. Maybe they’ll add a working air filter and new carpet.
Some time around midnight last night MGM Grand tweeted that somebody had won the $2.4 Million Lion’s Share jackpot that’s been building for 20 years. That tweet has was deleted when I woke up this morning. It used an old picture not showing the winning pull so it didn’t seem legitimate anyway.
Questions were flying on twitter whether or not the Lion’s Share jackpot was actually hit. At 12:24, while at the opening of SLS Las Vegas, the usually reliable Norm Clarke confirmed that a couple from New Hampshire did win the Lion’s Share jackpot.
People would stand in line to play Lion’s Share at all times of the day for their shot at the huge jackpot. There have been rumors that the winners of the jackpot would receive the actual slot machine but here’s no confirmation of that.
If you played Lion’s Share simply because it was an old game, you can head towards the sportsbook and play Sigma Derby. If you’re looking for a game with a big jackpot (but really bad odds) you can head over to a MegaBucks slot machine at any casino.
A couple of months ago a friend shared a BABYMETAL video on Facebook. I was fascinated by 3 little Japanese girls singing over extreme heavy metal music. I don’t know if I like BABYMETAL but I’m intrigued.
If you haven’t heard them before BABYMETAL is a strangely interesting combination of over produced pop and metal. If nothing else, it’s unique. I’ve fallen into the BABYMETAL YouTube hole where I’d watch their videos for way too long.
Lady Gaga has tapped BABY METAL to open 5 west coast shows, including Las Vegas. The list of Lady Gaga shows with BABYMETAL is below:
7/30 – Phoenix, Ariz. @ US Airways Arena 8/01 – Las Vegas, Nev. @ MGM Grand Garden Arena
8/02 – Stateline, Nev. @ Harveys Lake Tahoe
8/04 – Salt Lake City, Utah @ Energy Solutions Arena
8/06 – Denver, Colo. @ Pepsi Center
I think I need to see BABYMETAL on August 1st. I don’t want to see Lady Gaga so it will be an early night for me.
Talking about the weather is a funny thing. I was tweeting about this a few weeks ago when a friend had similar, unrelated, thoughts about talking weather. Usually weather is a topic just to fill awkward moments of silence. When I told friends I was moving to Las Vegas they all asked me about how I’ll deal with the weather. Truth is that there’s 4 months of sweltering heat in Vegas while there’s up to 6 months of cold and snow back east. I win the battle of bad weather.
Still, it’s hot in Vegas. Today will be the second day the temps reach 100 degrees this year. 100 degrees is hot but it’s not obscenely hot. That happens when the temperatures reach 115 and above. There’s no humidity in Las Vegas and that makes a huge difference. There really is something to there being “dry heat”. 100 degrees with zero humidity feels better on the skin than 90 with 100% humidity in New York City.
Last summer some friends were in town and we met up in downtown Vegas to play craps and Sigma Derby at The D among other games at other places. We joked that the weather was fine as long as we stayed under the canopy on Fremont Street. We joked about it until walking all the way to Mob Bar for a drink.
While it was fine being outside on Fremont Street the 115 degree temperature on that 1 block walk to Mob Bar was nasty hot. I woke up early this morning and decided to watch Channel 8 news and the weather person mentioned that it’s 15 degrees hotter when you stand in direct sunlight as opposed to the shade. Today’s 100 degrees will feel like 115 degrees and the temperature in July will feel like 130 when we walk to Mob Bar from The D.
Now we have a number to prove that it’s hot in the sun in Vegas. If you follow me on twitter you’ll notice me reference “closest _____ with covered parking” pretty often this summer. That’s my trick to avoid the extra 15 degrees. It’s also a good excuse to visit a casino since they have covered parking.
The heat is normally fine when you’re in the shade but you may want to stay out of direct sunlight if you don’t like the heat or you’re physically sensitive to it. Wether you’re covered or not it’s always a safe bet to drink water.
PS: On a side note it will be interesting how The Linq and MGM Park complex will deal with the sun and heat.
Old Vegas became Downtown Vegas over the past few years because of a myriad of changes to the area. There have been a lot of additions to the area but the places I care most about are the casinos. Many of the Downton Vegas casinos have been renovated over the past few years. Some renovations are better than others. Here are my favorite Downtown Vegas casino renovations.
1. the D – The D casino used to be Fitzgeralds but a complete overhaul of the property last year turned it into something entirely new and awesome. I know I’ve been inside The Fitz but I have no memory of it. The D has two very contrasting floors of its casino. The first floor is incredibly energetic (and loud) with great craps and good 3:2 blackjack. The loud music gives beats that the Go-Go dancers in between table games can dance to. Upstairs has a more mellow vibe with slower music and more machine games. This is where you’ll find Sigma Derby, old video poker and slot machines. It’s a fun contrast and easily one of my favorite places downtown. Photo: Yelp
2. El Cortez – El Cortez was the first casino to renovate and the renovations almost seem old compared to the other casinos in downtown Vegas. The renovations being a little older than the other downtown Vegas casinos allows El Cortez to easily have the most real vintage feel. Besides having great gaming rules (3:2 blackjack, 10x odds craps) rules and cheap gaming ($5 blackjack, $3 craps) they give away free ice cream and free pie periodically. I love El Cortez. Photo: AllVegasPoker.com
3. Golden Gate – Golden Gate is the oldest downtown Vegas hotel and last year’s renovations go a long way to keep that vibe. The renovations were all done to a roarin 20’s theme. The casino is very small and can be claustrophobic to some but that coziness brings great energy to the tables. Golden Gate has the same owners as the D so much of the gaming is the same. The main difference is that the video poker here is not very good and some of the blackjack games use a Continuous Shuffle Machine (I hate CSM!). Most of the dealers at night are also G0-Go dancers. That doesn’t hurt. This is probably my favorite downtown Vegas casino to play craps (ironically, no go-go dancers are craps dealers). Photo: Priceline
Honorable Mention. Gold Spike – Gold Spike is a tiny casino off Fremont Street. The casino is made up of 4 blackjack tables. That’s it (I think). Gold Spike is fairly useless with the exception of $5 sexy blackjack. $5 sexy blackjack isn’t really sexy but it’s fun. Gold Spike is more of a change of pace than anything else. Drink service is super quick since it’s small and never busy.
Other: The Plaza – This is my least favorite of the renovated casinos downtown. There is just no vibe at all here. It’s clean, big and new but that’s about it. Odds are if I’m at this end of Fremont Street I’m probably across the street rolling dice or eating pancakes at DuPar’s inside the Golden Gate.