Derek Stevens is a betting man. When his cherished Michigan Wolverines made a deep run in the 2018 NCAA tournament, Stevens came 40 minutes from cashing a $1 million payout on his alma mater.
Stevens, CEO of Circa Sports and the majority owner of The D Las Vegas, watched the national championship at The LONGBAR on Fremont Street, where he placed the $25,000 ticket inside a glass case next to a figurine of Pope Francis. Though Michigan fell 79-62 to Villanova behind a superlative effort from Donte DiVincenzo, Stevens still churned out a profit when he hedged on the Wildcats with a $330,000 wager.
But when asked if the total square footage of a cavernous sportsbook at the Las Vegas Circa Resort & Casino will hit the over of 30,000.5 square feet, Stevens demurred. As Circa prepares for the October opening of the glitzy resort, a vigorous debate on the exact dimensions of the book has percolated throughout Sin City.
World’s largest sportsbook?
The figure is the subject of intense speculation given that the Westgate SuperBook, located approximately five miles to the south, already holds the title of the World’s Largest Sportsbook. Following a $13 million renovation in 2016, the SuperBook enhanced the viewing experience for bettors with the completion of a 220-by-18-foot 4K video wall. With more than “30,000 square feet of heart-racing action,” sports bettors can “experience live sporting events like nowhere else,” reads a promotion on the sportsbook’s website.
Circa is looking to raise the stakes. While Circa representatives declined to divulge the estimated square footage of the retail sportsbook, a company spokesperson told Sports Handle that Circa’s viewing boards, including its odds board, will be 40% larger than the SuperBook’s. Stevens, who maintains an amicable relationship with Superbook USA management, expects to have a little fun with their new rivals as each stake their claim to the title.
“It will be the largest in the world,” Stevens said of his new property. “I’m a big fan of Westgate, but ours will be bigger.”
Listing of overall square footage at other top Nevada Race & Sportsbooks
- South Point Hotel & Casino — 21,411 sq. ft.
- Aliante Casino + Hotel — 14,200 sq. ft.
- Red Rock Casino Resort Spa — 14,066 sq. ft.
- Venetian Resort Hotel Casino — 12,200 sq. ft.
- Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino — 11,693 sq. ft.
- Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall — 10,500 sq. ft.
- Sunset Station Hotel & Casino — 10,247 sq. ft.
- Aria Resort & Casino — 10,156 sq. ft.
(Source: Nevada Gaming Control Board)
As of June 29, the Nevada Gaming Control Board (GCB) had yet to receive a figure on the proposed square footage of the Circa sportsbook, GCB senior research analyst Michael Lawton told Sports Handle.
When it comes to the specifications of the sportsbook property, Circa will not release much of the data to the public until it gets closer to the grand opening. A massive three-story screen is rumored to be the world’s largest television, though it appears to be slightly smaller than a regulation NBA basketball court, according to a source familiar with the project. The screen, which contains 78 million pixels (see below), was designed by South Dakota-based Daktronics, a company responsible for installing large LED video display systems in more than two-thirds of NFL stadiums.
A panoramic 62,000 sq. foot LED display at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta came with a price tag in excess of $20 million, ESPN reported. When asked if the cost of the project approached the figure, Stevens indicated that while he didn’t know of the exact price it was still “a pretty expensive screen.”
Nevertheless, Stevens intends to create an Aha! moment for bettors when they enter the facility, sort of like the one he encountered when he walked into the sportsbook at Caesars Palace for the first time. In order to optimize the viewing experience, he wanted the screen to be large enough so a spectator’s view of a big game would not be impeded by someone standing in front of them. The three-level sportsbook also has optimal acoustical elements throughout the expansive area and stadium-style seating available for reservation.
For the upcoming NFL season, the sportsbook will offer two contests, including The Circa Sports Million Pro Football Contest, with a $1 million prize to the top finisher. Each week, entrants are asked to make five NFL selections against the spread. Circa will award a total of $3 million through the contest. The sportsbook initially was not scheduled to open until December.
Stevens is particularly intrigued by the Circa Pro Football Survivor Contest, which also costs $1,000 to enter. Participants in the contest are required to pick one winner each week straight up, but are eliminated with a single loss. The last player standing will win $1 million. An entrant can also collect an additional bonus of $1 million if he or she records a perfect 18-0 record on the season (the three games on Thanksgiving Day are considered to be a separate week from the rest of the weekly slate).
Under Nevada state law, Stevens cannot place any bets at his own sportsbook properties. Still, the Circa Sports CEO will continue to place large wagers at other books around Las Vegas. In fact, Stevens plans to announce a hefty wager on Thursday (he didn’t drop any hints on the sport or the bet type during a 30-minute interview three days earlier).
The Vegas sportsbook community is a close-knit one, Stevens says, where even rivals can get along well. Circa’s opening comes at a challenging period for Las Vegas, as the city’s tourism industry continues to reel from the effects of COVID-19. In May, the Las Vegas metro area recorded an unemployment rate of 29%, third-worst in the nation among major tourist destinations, according to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Stevens still believes the Circa opening will draw more sports bettors to the city.
“It’s not like Circa will take every bet, they’re going to be hitting the Wynn sportsbook, they’re going to be hitting Caesars, they’re going to be hitting Westgate,” Stevens said. “It’s a positive element for everyone.”