My Trip to the New Circa Casino and Sportsbook in Las Vegas
I am both a sportswriter and a Vegas local. I have seen many a sportsbook in my time. You would think I would be jaded, wouldn’t you? Immune to things deemed, “new, exciting and delightful,” you may assume.
Not at all. Mostly because Las Vegas is constantly evolving and offering the world things that actually are new, exciting, and delightful.
Now, imagine a stadium inside a casino, where every seat feels like it is on the 50-yard line, or behind home plate, or right at the Wimbledon net. The seats are comfortable, cocktails are on tap, and the view of the action is superb, larger than life. Much larger.
Now, open your eyes and stop imagining. Because it is real.
Designed like a stadium, the seating descends, step-like, into a recessed area that is technically part of the Circa Casino but has a feel of a separate place, its own environment.
The screens are massive, far larger than I’ve seen at any other sportsbook. According to Circa, their screens take up a wall “three stories high.” I didn’t have a 30-foot measuring tape with me, but I believe it.
The seats in the sportsbook can be reserved, and their events calendar is full (Monday Night Football, the upcoming 2020 Masters, College Football Saturdays, and a “weekday sports mix”).
Food from Saginaw’s deli and other restaurants can be served to you in the sportsbook, along with unlimited cocktails.
There were married couples relaxing in the sportsbook, watching college ball and wearing team jerseys. It actually felt like I was at a game–a temperature-controlled game with cocktail waitresses, restaurants close at hand, and hot casino action.
This sportsbook might put actual stadiums out of business.
I suspect that the next time you freeze your way through a college or pro ball game, your derriere going numb on icy metal bleachers, you are going to consider a trip to this sportsbook as a viable alternative to “too much reality.”
There are two primary areas of Las Vegas in which casinos are clustered. One is the Strip, aka Las Vegas Boulevard, and one is Downtown, also known as Fremont Street.
The Circa is located in the older casino section, on Fremont Street, which offers a very different experience than the Strip.
In a nutshell, the Strip is ideal for exploring one specific casino (for instance, the Venetian, which is immense, has an indoor canal complete with gondola rides, and boasts a very upscale mall within).
The casinos on Fremont Street are smaller and all nestled together which makes for a very lively and more “crowded” experience as you pop into and out of each casino in turn.
Fremont Street may be the prime people-watching location in the world.
Unlike neighboring properties that lure travelers away from the Strip and into this older part of town, this place of a thousand wild stories, the Circa is not the land of bargains or discounts. But it is a place of quality and authentic experience.
Hotel rooms in Circa are not cheap; as of right now, Circa is not the place you stay when trying to save a buck or a hundred. But the properties to the right and left of the Circa are cost-friendly (Golden Nugget, 4 Queens, etc.).
And of course, you don’t have to stay at any specific property to enjoy any and all of the Las Vegas sportsbooks. Locals used to flock to Vegas sportsbooks, before online sports betting became an easy, legal alternative.
Circa is an adults-only venue. “But aren’t all casinos off-limits to kids, at least on the casino floor?” Yes, on the casino floor.
But at Circa, the restaurants and pool and shops are also adults-only. This makes no difference to me, but it may matter to some folks who want a total “grown-up” getaway.
As noted above, the Circa is more upscale in feel than some of the other properties in the Downtown/Fremont Street area of Las Vegas. This is a historic district, where many a Vegas-style shenanigan went down over the decades.
The vibe in Circa is like the vibe up and down the Fremont Street Experience: buzzing, intense, curious and excited. You benefit from all the electricity and eccentricity of Fremont Street with a more exclusive feel within the Circa itself.
I asked how to find the Circa’s BBQ restaurant, and the concierge-type person who offered to help me find the eatery guided me across busy open spaces, down a level, across more busy-ness, ultimately leading me outside of the casino and right into the Fremont Street Experience.
The Circa’s BBQ site is attached to the outside of the building, to give you a feel of actually barbecuing at a park.
As a person who tends to frequent the Strip for all of my casino, sportsbook, and dining needs, I will say that the energy in the Circa impacted me in a very positive way.
As anyone who is a fan of the Strip knows, the casinos on Las Vegas Boulevard are huge. Lots of space, massive walkways and bridges, indoor malls, giant signage and endless casino floors.
At the Circa, as with all of the other casinos in the area, everything feels more intimate.
The atmosphere in the casino and in the greater downtown neighborhood is convivial, like a college party.
Thus, the Circa sportsbook is not the only reason to explore the area. There is a swimming pool down the block at the Golden Nugget, which boasts an aquarium placed in the center of the pool.
If You Have Never Been to a Sportsbook
A sportsbook is a business, like any other. It is a place where you go to watch sporting events/games/matches and place bets on the action.
I mentioned that these are businesses to emphasize that everyone who works in the sportsbook is there to help you get seated, understand how to place a wager, and to get you a drink.
There is no reason to be intimidated by the process. Just find a seat, watch the action, and, if you feel so inspired, put some money down to increase the excitement of your Formula 1/NFL/March Madness viewing.
Wrapping Things Up
Vegas has all the best things in the world, all wrapped up in a compact, easily navigated urban environment. The nightlife, the hiking, the museums, the local anthropology and archaeology sites, all make for a wondrous and well-rounded experience. (I could go on…the friendliness of the locals, the ebullience of the visitors…There is too much good stuff to mention here. And the gelato! Okay, I have to stop now.)
The new Circa Casino is just one more reason to visit glorious Las Vegas.