First Circa sportsbook to open at Golden Gate in June

Tony Moser / Moser Architecture Studio

An artist’s rendering of Circa Sports at the Golden Gate in downtown Las Vegas.

Casino owner and developer Derek Stevens is set to open his own Las Vegas sportsbook.

Circa Sports, which got the go-ahead from the Nevada Gaming Commission today, is scheduled to open June 1 at the Golden Gate and at The D Las Vegas shortly thereafter. Stevens owns both downtown casinos.

The name of the sportsbook is tied to Stevens’ under-construction Circa Resort and Casino, which is expected to open in December 2020. The Circa Sports at the new property will be the flagship location.

Stevens, a well-known sports bettor, said he wants Circa Sports to offer a traditional Las Vegas book experience coupled with all the technological bells and whistles.

“I remember the days when I spent afternoons running across Las Vegas Boulevard trying to get the best line between the Riviera and the Stardust,” Stevens said. “I remember getting up early and going to the Stardust’s sports handicappers library, which was terrific. We’re trying to touch on a number of those things, and we’re going to have the wow factor, too.”

Matt Metcalf, who worked under well-known Westgate oddsmaker Jay Kornegay, will run Circa Sports.

“I think success for us is going to mean success for everyone downtown,” Metcalf said. “This sportsbook at Golden Gate is going to be special. It’s a smaller book, but it’s going to have character. When you walk in, you’re going to get a sense there’s action in the room.”

Metcalf said he plans to take bigger bets at the counter than on the book’s mobile app, which will also be rolled out June 1.

“We want people in the book betting,” Metcalf said. “I want a certain vibe in there. I want people to know they’re in a Las Vegas sportsbook, because that’s a really unique thing. You can go to a sportsbook in New Jersey or wherever, but it’s not the same.”

Metcalf said another Westgate veteran, Chris Bennett, will serve as Circa’s sportsbook manager. Jeff Benson will be operations manager.

Designed by Moser Architecture Studio, the Circa Sports at Golden Gate will have 18 TV screens, LED boards displaying odds and two betting kiosks. The flagship book at the Circa resort will be multilevel and include a television studio.

“I’ve wanted to run my own sportsbook since we bought the Golden Gate in 2006,” Stevens said. “We just didn’t have the volume at the Golden Gate and at The D. Partly because of the mobile apps, that’s changed. That significantly increases the opportunity for volume. There’s advantages to running your own book.”

Stevens said the decision was not a reflection of his feelings toward William Hill US, which now runs the sportsbook at The D.

“I think we’re going to have a great relationship with the other books around town,” Stevens said. “We just wanted the opportunity to run the sports business ourselves.”