History of Sports Betting in Vegas: Where Old Meets New

Interior of Circa | Sports - Downtown Las Vegas Sportsbook

Back in the day, your bookie knew your name, your favorite team, where the steam was, wrote your ticket by hand, and paid you with a smile when you won. Golden Gate is proud to announce that the Circa | Sports family is bringing that energy back, guaranteeing the most dynamic betting options for the games you love in a state-of-the-art Las Vegas sportsbook. Located a few steps within Golden Gate, Circa | Sports elevates sports betting in Vegas to a whole new level. Make your bets now at Golden Gate and at the D Las Vegas.

Get in the action and experience sports betting the way it used to be here!

As the future of sports betting arrives, why not learn a little about how we got to this point in Vegas gaming? Las Vegas is rich in history, and it doesn’t stop at the sportsbook. Watch and read below for the history and future of sports betting in Vegas, along with insights from Derek Stevens and tips on how to bet on sports successfully.


The History of Sports Betting in Vegas



Gambling is legalized in Nevada. At this time, Las Vegas sports betting takes place with illegal bookies or with legal turf clubs. Popular turf clubs include the Derby Club, Saratoga Club, and Hollywood Horse and Sports Book.



Infamous Las Vegas mobster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel is the first race disseminator in Nevada, offering the race wire service for bookies to share horse race information such as odds, entries, and results.


Horse Races for Sports Betting in Vegas



After 20 years of legalized gambling, the federal government imposes a 10% tax on legal sportsbooks in Nevada to regulate the industry after nation-wide opposition of illegal gambling outside of the state. While this tax drives legal Las Vegas sports betting operations out of business, remaining sportsbooks find ways around the tax.

Some bring their sports betting operations underground to avoid tax while others skirt around the tax with some smart thinking. Sportsbooks and bettors work together to play the system with success. Sports bets are written for 10% of the actual bet, making a bet for $1,000 to win $900 look like $100 to win $90 on paper.



The federal government loosens restrictions on sports betting in Vegas by lowering the Nevada sports betting tax from 10% to 2%, making sports betting a more viable and appealing option for casinos.



Jackie Gaughan takes advantage of the lowered tax and opens a sportsbook in the Union Plaza casino – the first Las Vegas sportsbook in a casino.


Exterior of the Stardust in Las Vegas



The first of the modern sportsbooks in Las Vegas opens at the Stardust by Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal. The Stardust sportsbook features six giant screens and seating for 300, which becomes the inspiration for following sportsbooks.



Restrictions drop even further as the federal government cuts the sports betting tax from 2% to 0.25% and licensees are now able to operate more than one book at a time. Resort-casinos now have easier access to introduce Las Vegas sportsbooks to their properties.



Circa | Sports™ opens!


The Future of Circa | Sports Betting

Circa | Sports doesn’t stop here… Slated to debut as a part of the Fremont Street Experience in December of 2020, Circa Resort & Casino is dedicated to constructing the most unique and memorable Vegas experience you could imagine – including the largest sportsbook in Las Vegas.

Sports betting history was made in 1986 when Derek Stevens saw the Las Vegas Hilton Superbook inspiring him to create the biggest sportsbook in Las Vegas. The sportsbook in Circa Resort & Casino will feature a state-of-the-art, multi-level, stadium-style sportsbook equipped with the biggest screen in sportsbook history along with an in-house broadcast studio. There is no doubt that Circa | Sports is about to create some history of its own.


Mockup of Interior of Circa Sportsbook in Las Vegas


Las Vegas Sports Betting Tips

Now, let’s place some bets! Before you start your day of sports betting in Vegas, do some research by reading current sports news, learning simple statistics, and watching some games to make sure you’re placing bets with confidence. When arriving at the Circa | Sports sportsbook, check out the daily sheets to find out your wagering options and who the favorites and underdogs are. Daily sheets help you strategically plan your approach before placing bets and help you avoid personal bias by proving that even though you might want it to happen, it might not be in the cards that day.

Before placing any sports bets, determine your bankroll and stick to it – we suggest betting 1-2% of your bankroll for conservative bets, 3% for average risk, and 4-5% for a more aggressive approach. That being said, try to avoid letting your outcomes affect the remaining of your sports betting in Vegas. Overconfidence after a win can cause you to bet too high while getting disheartened over a loss can cause you to give up. Stay level-headed and trust your judgement.

The biggest tips are to have fun and bet responsibly. Visit Circa | Sports for a Las Vegas sports betting experience you’ll never forget, and stay tuned for the Circa Las Vegas sportsbook opening in 2020!


*Circa | Sports bets can only be made while physically located in the state of Nevada. Must register in person to use the Circa | Sports app. Must be 21 years or older with valid photo ID. All rights reserved. Golden Gate Hotel & Casino and the D Las Vegas encourage you to gamble responsibly. For problem gambling information and assistance, call the 24-hour confidential Problem Gamblers HelpLine at 1-800-522-4700.