by Micah Roberts
The football season has begun in Las Vegas, which is unlike any other football city in America because of the emphasis the casinos place on making the action as exciting as any college tailgate party or NFL stadium.
It’s a time of year in which each casino attempts to out-market the competition, making their promotions the most attractive, which will hopefully maximize traffic through the doors.
The sports betting business is definitely larger during football season, even though revenue figures pale in comparison to what the overall casino takes in. However, the traffic driven to a casino by the football games on a typical weekend spills over onto the table games, slot machines and food and beverage outlets, making it a catalyst for other areas of the casino.
Casino promotions range from food and drink specials and football parties, to special handicapping contests, unique parlay cards, innovative prop and fantasy bets and space-age devices designed to enhance the betting experience, such as M Resort’s "in-running" betting computers, which open a whole new realm for bettors.
Some casinos have taken it up a notch with their facilities and how the game is presented to their customers. For instance, some casinos christen sports "cathedrals" with their high-tech video displays, lounges, private boxes, bottle service and catered food, and they will even place televisions around the table games to keep the players in touch with the action.
Station Casinos this season is setting up their viewing parties within all of their massive sports books, which are some of the greatest viewing screens ever created for sports viewing. They are adding a nice mix to each week of the regular football season by offering $1 hot dogs and Budweiser. Yes, one U.S. dollar, all day long, for all season long. It’s quite a deal, and with all the savings, it leaves a few extra bucks for the important things like betting.
The Stratosphere, appropriately, takes football action to new heights with parties set up for its showroom.
"Every Sunday through the football season we will be opening up our showroom with big screen TV’s and show all the morning and afternoon games," said Stratosphere Race and Sports Book Director Ed Malinowski. "We have the ability to accommodate up to 600 people and seat them comfortably in table and booth seating, which make it more comfortable if you’re with a group of friends as opposed to makeshift row seating."
In addition to food and drink specials, Malinowski said they will have four convenient bet stations located outside the room. They are also offering an added bonus this season for guests checking into the hotel who will get a selection card for games. If they’re winning pick is selected in a drawing, their stay in the hotel will be free.
The Las Vegas Hilton’s Super Book is appropriately named, especially during the football season. With its expansive wagering menu already reason enough to visit the Super Book on Sunday’s, its Football Central is a great place to watch all the games in a raucous smoke-free environment.
"If you have never been to Football Central, you really need to check it out," said Super Book Executive Director Jay Kornegay, "It‘s truly a great environment with betting available, drink and food specials, former football player appearances signing autographs, and loads of prizes given away for simply being there."
Football Central has a capacity of 1,500 guests with large screens set up so the action isn’t missed anywhere you choose to sit.
Regardless of which sports book in Las Vegas you visit, you’ll sense an excitement and eagerness as customers anticipate the upcoming season.
"There is a massive turnaround in business going from baseball season to football for us," said South Point’s veteran Sports Book Director Bert Osbourne. "Everything is on a larger scale for football from the crowds – the volume of actions, and then the decisions. Everyone has just been waiting for this to start after a long, hot summer and there is something about football that stirs up an enormous amount of energy with the players."