The Future Of Sportsbooks: What To Expect From The Big Casino Operators

Marc Meltzer May 19, 2018 1815 Reads
Sportsbooks

Park MGM in Las Vegas (formerly Monte Carlo) opened a new sports bar and book for the first weekend of the NCAA basketball tournament. The new sports bar and book isn’t a traditional sportsbook like the Monte Carlo used to have. The place to bet on sports at the newly revealed casino is more like a bar and restaurant with a sports betting section in the front.

The sportsbook at Park MGM is a nice room to watch the games you have bets on, but it offers a different experience than sportsbooks in most casinos. MGM Resorts International is different than some other casino operators that may follow a template for their sportsbooks. Generally, MGM Resorts offers a different sportsbook experience at each of their Las Vegas properties.

  • The Bellagio is set up to feel more like a lounge than Aria which feels more like a man cave.
  • The Mirage sportsbook is a huge space and set up for customers looking for open seating (free) and those willing to pay for VIP seats and couches.
  • MGM Grand is mostly a traditional sportsbook but has Sky Boxes for high rollers.

None of MGM’s Las Vegas casinos have the same exact sportsbook layout.

Different sportsbooks for different locations

There are a handful of casino and sportsbook operators in Las Vegas that will begin to roll out sportsbooks at their casinos around the country as gambling is legalized elsewhere. In addition to MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment, Boyd Gaming, and William Hill are just a few of the casino chains with multiple Las Vegas properties that will expand their sportsbook operations beyond Las Vegas.

Here’s a look at what to expect in a sportsbook from each operator when they open a sportsbook in your state.

  • MGM Resorts – They have a variety of styles with a focus on socializing. They also want to make sure they are monetizing every seat in some way. The sportsbook may appear traditional. However, the design could make it easier for them to sell drinks to guests watching and wagering on the games instead
  • Caesars Entertainment – They have traditional style sportsbooks in different sizes to accommodate the appropriate number of people per property. They often have VIP areas where they can sell seats or reserve seats for their high tier players club members. Caesars is one of the sportsbook operators that is looking to rent seats in their sportsbook whenever possible.
  • Boyd Gaming – Most of their Las Vegas sportsbooks are as traditional as it gets. There are plush chairs for sports bettors and desks with monitors and banquet style chairs for horse bettors. Boyd Gaming sportsbooks in Las Vegas aren’t flashy but they get the job done. They often have a hot dog cart on gameday, if you’re into that sort of thing.
  • William Hill – They’re an outside sportsbook operator and have a variety of sportsbooks that are different for each property. Smaller properties may have a betting desk at the end of a bar. Larger properties might have a traditional sportsbook feel. Their New Jersey location at Monmouth Park is a sports bar and restaurant with more than 40 TV’s located on the grandstand level of the racetrack. The color and furnishings look similar to some of their Las Vegas sportsbooks.

Mobile betting changes everything

One reason casino and sportsbook operators are creating new sportsbook environments are to entice younger customers to visit. A recent study shows that millennials prefer online gambling to casinos. Further, the youngest of this group find the traditional casino environment depressing. Casino operators often have to search for new customers while offering an experience existing customers will enjoy.

Online and mobile sports betting really minimizes the need for large betting areas found in traditional sportsbooks. Different casinos and sportsbooks have different customers with different preferences. We still don’t know how legal sports betting will be set up around the country. The push to mobile for all sportsbook operators could dictate how the sportsbooks are set up in your local casino, racetrack or bar.