Toward the end of 2018, SuperBook USA, the national brand for the Las Vegas SuperBook at the Westgate, asked bettors what they look for when choosing a sportsbook. As the look and feel of sportsbooks change across the country, this is probably a good time to ask what was once a simple question.
What do you look for when choosing a sports book? pic.twitter.com/W3UbAMMuw1
— SuperBookUSA (@SuperBookUSA) October 19, 2018
When TheLines spoke with Jay Kornegay, from the Las Vegas SuperBook, in August, he said that “the size and scope of each new superbook will be based on regulations and what the partner property has to offer.” Answering this tweet could help to shape future sportsbooks around the country, but there’s no guarantee.
Building sportsbooks around the US
Many of the sportsbooks opening around the country are repurposed venues that previously existed as something else. While some casinos like Borgata, in New Jersey, are building new sportsbooks for the future, other casinos are happy with the less than spectacular space they already have.
To be fair, all sportsbooks can be good, but it takes a lot to make a great sportsbook. The traditional style of the world’s largest sportsbook at the Westgate may be one person’s favorite; meanwhile, Caesars Entertainment is testing The Book at The Linq to be its sportsbook model for its casinos all over the country.
What matters most when choosing a sportsbook?
Let’s take a look at some features to consider when choosing a sportsbook. Everyone has different preferences so some of these will matter more than others.
- Size: Do you prefer a large sportsbook or a more cozy room?
- Screens: Are lots of HDTVs sufficient or do you prefer theater-sized screens?
- Seating: Sportsbooks are now offering a variety of seating including lounge chairs, couches, banquet chairs and bar stools.
- VIP: What if nicer seats require a minimum on spending or cost money to reserve? The Fan Cave concept at The Linq seems popular for some but the minimum requirement can be a turnoff.
- Horse racing: Does betting on the ponies matter? New sportsbooks in Las Vegas and around the country aren’t showing daily horse racing.
- Odds: Every bettor wants the best odds but are you willing to give up a few cents on a line for a more comfortable experience?
- Limits: Maximum bet limits matter to experienced sports bettors who may make their living betting sports.
- Betting menu: Do you need a lot of in-play and pre-game betting option or are the basics enough?
- Tech/Mobile/Kiosks: Do the most technologically advanced amenities matter when choosing a sportsbook? There’s no human interaction when using a smartphone or kiosk to place bets. That’s a bonus for many bettors.
- Food: Do you need a sportsbook that also serves food? Are nearby take-out restaurants important?
- Bar: Must the sportsbook include a bar or is cocktail service enough?
- Prices: Convenience of food and drink is one thing but prices are another? Will you pay a little more for the ability to eat and drink inside of a sportsbook? Not all sportsbooks offer deals on their drinks and/or food.
- Drink tickets: Will you bet at a sportsbook that doesn’t offer complimentary drink tickets with wagers?
- More than sports: Do you want a sportsbook that offers non-sports betting gambling options as well? Some sportsbooks offer video poker and others have table games for those need to do more than one thing at a time.
- Smoking: Will you visit or stay away from a sportsbook that doesn’t allow smoking? Some cigar smokers need a stogie while watching their games.
There’s sort of a design battle happening between sportsbooks. Traditional sportsbooks seem to be fine with most fans. The casinos around the country have something else in mind. The old school sportsbooks typically only generate revenue from betting. The casinos and racetracks are using the sportsbook to sell food and drink in addition to taking wagers.