Let’s be honest: Football Sundays and Basketball Wednesdays are great anywhere there’s a comfy chair, a remote and your team on the screen. But if you’ve never cheered on a football or basketball game in Las Vegas—you’re missing out, big-time. With legendary sports books, tremendous sports bars and, by the looks of it, more televisions per capita than just about anywhere, Vegas is becoming one of the most exciting places in the country to follow and cheer on your squads.
This frenzy is bound to only increase as Vegas comes of age as a sports town. The MGM Resorts NBA Summer League has been playing its games all over the city for the better part of the last decade, and fans have finally caught on to the access these games provide. The Oakland Raiders are expected to relocate to Vegas for the start of the 2020 season, playing in the state-of-the-art (and currently under construction) Allegiant Stadium. When you add to these the beloved Las Vegas Golden Knights (NHL) and Las Vegas Aces (WNBA), and consider that Las Vegas is the site of the 2020 NFL draft, it becomes clear: The Entertainment Capital of the World is also becoming an undeniable force for sports entertainment.
“People waited years for us to get a pro sports franchise, and after we got it the market exploded,” says Craig Nyman, a lifelong local and self-proclaimed sports nut. “It’s been fun to watch.”
While the sports scene in Las Vegas continues to swell, the city offers a slew of spectacular spots to watch your favorite teams play. Here are six we love.
6. The Book, The LINQ Hotel + Experience
The future of sports betting is on display at The LINQ. Following a multimillion-dollar renovation in 2018, The Book now comprises eight living room-style man caves where bettors can customize their gameday experience however they’d like. Each semi-private space has a couch, recliners, four televisions and an Xbox. Special drinks, beer, and food menus are available as well. The new approach is part of a larger section of the casino with virtual reality, interactive table games and more.
5. Caesars Palace Race and Sports Book
The book at Caesars Palace frequently appears on lists of things sports fans must experience before they die, and with good reason. Big games attract the kind of crowds you might find at a football match in Europe. Fans chant and cheer and boo. Bettors heckle players who impact their side of the point spread. Sometimes—for the NCAA men’s hoops tournament, for instance—the book brings in cheerleaders and showgirls. With a bar, plenty of standing room and a table games pit nearby, the vibe here is always electric.
4. Lagasse’s Stadium, The Palazzo Las Vegas
Think of Lagasse’s Stadium inside The Palazzo Las Vegas as a mashup of a sports book, sports bar, casual restaurant, nightclub and tailgate party. The result, owned by sports fanatic Chef Emeril Lagasse, is a place that’s always thumping. In the dining area, tables and TVs abound, so nobody is more than a glance from important games. Toward the back, the place feels more like a traditional sports book, with couches and tables lining movie-style screens and a lightboard full of odds. During big games—especially New Orleans Saints games—most seats have food-and-beverage minimums.
3. Moneyline, Park MGM
The spot for sports inside the refreshed Park MGM is more bar than book, and that’s what makes it so much fun. Sure, there are betting windows—six of them, to be exact—but the real attractions are giant high-def TV screens, recliners, cornhole and duckpin bowling. Crowds during major games can get raucous, with fans for both teams hooting and hollering. On Sundays in particular, the scene is frenetic, like a tailgate. Sometimes former players even come in to give autographs. Moneyline went through a total makeover about a year after it opened so everything is pretty much brand-spankin’ new.
2. Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa
Comfort is the name of the game at the expansive race and sports book inside Red Rock, the jewel of Summerlin. The 96-foot video wall is one of the biggest in the entire Las Vegas Valley, and bookmaker Jason McCormick often gives the largest real estate to the games that people bet the most. Though jersey-clad crowds tend to stand, the book has more than 200 seats, each with its own terminal for custom viewing. A VIP area features its own betting window and wait staff. The book is a favorite among locals and is at its busiest during NBA games.
1. South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa
The “big board” dominates the view at the sports book inside the South Point, located south of McCarran International Airport; it’s hard to miss the real-time betting lines hanging on the lightboard. Two wall-sized big-screen televisions and dozens of smaller screens add to the ambiance. Bettors pack it in for big football games and hoot it up as extras for the Vegas Stats & Information Network, a multimedia sports betting network with a studio in the book. One of the network founders was Brent Musburger, and you might just catch him wandering around in his trademark Stetson.