Circa Casino, Home of ‘World’s Largest Sportsbook’, Opens in Signature Las Vegas Style

  • October 28 opening marks downtown Vegas’s first built-from-the-ground up casino since 1980
  • Doors opened to the public on Wednesday 12:01am after an invitation-only black-tie launch
  • CEO Stevens said Circa will draw visitors to “world’s largest sportsbook”, boost Vegas economy
  • Main two-story casino facility houses 1,350 slot machines and 49 table games
  • 777-room hotel tower to open December 28, but guests staying at sister properties get Circa perks
ribbon-cutting ceremony
Circa Resort and Casino Las Vegas, home to the world’s largest sportsbook, celebrated its official public opening on October 28. [Image:]

Invitation-only black-tie launch

Circa Resort and Casino Las Vegas opened its doors to the public on Wednesday 12:01am following a signature Vegas-style, invitation-only black-tie launch. The first downtown Las Vegas casino built from the ground up since 1980 also houses what CEO Derek Stevens claims to be the “world’s largest sportsbook”.

In a tweet announcing its opening, Circa thanked the “incredible city” of Las Vegas, among others, for making Sin City history:

As of 1:05am October 28, the line of people waiting to get into Circa stretched along Fremont all the way to Third Street before splitting north toward Ogden Avenue, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported in its live blog.

Boosting Vegas casino business

“When we stand at Circa, we stand at the threshold of another universe,” Master of Ceremonies George Shea said at the inauguration. After synchronized swimmers entertained VIP guests in Stadium Swim, Shea introduced the co-owner of Circa Derek Stevens, who emerged through a tunnel of smoke with his wife Nicole Stevens.

We’re in this together”

Addressing the VIP audience, Stevens said that the opening of the 1.25-million-square-foot integrated casino resort (ICR) is intended to boost business not only for his operation, but also for downtown and the entire Las Vegas area. “We’re in this together”, he emphasized throughout his speech. Stevens added that Circa will inspire people across the US to come and experience the state-of-the-art sportsbook and its “three stories of glory”.

The Circa sportsbook boasts a 78-million-pixel screen, a 1,000-person viewing capacity, and a Vegas Stats and Information Network (VSiN) broadcasting daily from the on-site studio. The daily casts will offer bettors in-depth analysis from experts including athletes, industry professionals, and broadcasters.

Circa’s main two-story casino features 1,350 slot machines and 49 table games, along with numerous original food and beverage concepts. Seated at the 165-foot Mega Bar before his speech, Stevens said: “We’re fired up tonight. For people that have never been in a casino when it opens to the public, that’s something special. That’s a bucket list thing.”

First impressions count

Grand openings are critical for establishing a resort’s perception in the public eye, Josh Swissman, founding partner of gaming and hospitality consulting firm The Strategy Organization told the Review-Journal. “You want to give (guests) a great first impression to that property. You never get a second chance,” he said ahead of Circa’s grand opening.

Alan Feldman, a distinguished fellow at UNLV’s International Gaming Institute, has been to around 20 casino grand openings, also highlighted the vital importance of first impressions. He said: “You’re trying to build word of mouth, and you’re trying to do it quickly.”

a morale boost the city needs right now”

Former Las Vegas mayor and Caesars Entertainment Corporation board member Jan Jones Blackhurst said Circa’s grand opening “brings the community together”. Amanda Belarmino, assistant professor at UNLV’s college of hospitality concurred, saying: “We need good news; we need something exciting. It’s a morale boost the city needs right now.”

“I hope people understand the importance and meaning of this property opening,” said Nehme E. Abouzeid, the president and founder of Launch Vegas LLC. “Las Vegas is alive and well and reinvesting.”

No room at the inn, for now

The grand opening of the Circa ICR was announced back in June. While guests can make online reservations, the 777-room hotel tower will only open on December 28. However, guests staying at sister properties Golden Gate and The D Las Vegas will receive perks when visiting Circa, including early and free access to the pool amphitheater.

Abouzeid believes the inability to currently host guests takes a “bit of buzz” off the opening night, particularly given that many travelers are still reluctant to fly because of COVID-19.

Ultimately, the opening of Circa will help provide economic uplift for the city and create extra jobs. According to the Department of Education, Training and Rehabilitation’s September 2020 economic report, employment in the leisure and hospitality sector for the Las Vegas metropolitan area was down by 73,900 jobs, which is 25% lower than September 2019 figures.

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