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HOME > NEWS > Featured Articles > Las Vegas Casino Openings & Expansions: The Cosmopolitan unveils sports bettor's paradise steps off the Strip

Las Vegas Casino Openings & Expansions: The Cosmopolitan unveils sports bettor's paradise steps off the Strip

15 February 2016

By Gary Trask

Since The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas opened just over five years ago on the Las Vegas Strip, sports betting has admittedly been an afterthought. While the space reserved for the sportsbook on the second floor was fully functional and served its purpose, it was not a "destination" area within the lavish, twin high-rise resort sandwiched between CityCenter and Bellagio.

"It was more of a transactional area where you'd go in, make your bet and then go find something else to do," The Cosmo's Senior Vice President of Gaming Operations, Brian Benowitz, explained to Casino City.

The 23-seat bar at The Cosmo sportsbook is open 24/7 and offers unobstructed sightlines to the main LED walls. (photo by © Erik Kabik/ erikkabik.com)

The 23-seat bar at The Cosmo sportsbook is open 24/7 and offers unobstructed sightlines to the main LED walls. (photo by © Erik Kabik/ erikkabik.com)

Three months ago, resort officials decided it was time to completely reinvent the sports-bettor experience. They found a space on the first level of the casino that was what Benowitz described as a "graveyard for slots," and began to transform it into an ultramodern sports bettor's paradise, literally just steps off the Strip. Right on time, the new book — still powered by CG Technology, but now twice the size of the previous space — opened days before Super Bowl 50, and guests responded by helping the resort increase its handle on the big game by 50%, compared to last year.

"We've received nothing but rave reviews, and it's brought an energy to that part of the casino floor that we've never seen before," Benowitz beamed. "What's great about the new space is that it's very interactive. It's like a big living room. You feel comfortable in there from the moment you sit down. It's definitely a place where you want to come in and stay for long periods of time, instead of placing your bet and leaving."

Amenities offered in the book include state-of-the-art LED video walls for both sports and racing, dozens of high-definition televisions, mobile wagering technology and lounge-style seating areas. There is a section with shuffleboard, billiards and foosball tables that are all free to play, adding to the "interactive" theme, and VIP areas are available where guests can watch their action unfold on personal 90-inch TVs.

The 23-seat bar is open 24/7 and has video poker machines at each station, 24-hour food service and unobstructed sightlines to the main LED walls. There are 14 craft beers on the menu and eight beers on tap. Scrolling around the bar's perimeter is what Benowitz calls the "coolest sports ticker you'll ever see."

"A lot of sportsbooks have the main bar area on the outskirts of the location, but we decided to put the bar right in the middle of the action," said Benowitz, who has been at The Cosmo for five months after a two-decade career in the city that included stints at The Mirage and Aria Resort & Casino. "CG Technology has been a great partner for us. They have eight locations in Las Vegas, and we truly feel this is the one people will choose going forward. We really do have something for everyone. The seasoned race player has their own area to enjoy, as do the serious sports bettors. But we also appeal to the casual player who just wants to come in and enjoy the other amenities."

The sportsbook opening comes on the heels of The Cosmo introducing a new high-limit slot area and a casino lounge called CliQue in the west end tower just before Christmas. The slot area used to share space with table games, but is now exclusive to slot players, providing private restrooms and complimentary cookies. Next up, the resort will turn the old high-limit slot room into a high-limit table game area offering blackjack and baccarat, with new carpeting and chairs. Also, within the next year, the resort plans to unveil VIP suites on the top floor of the east tower.

"It's an exciting time here," added Benowitz of the resort that has seen a steady rise in casino revenues ever since it was purchased in 2014 by an affiliate of the New York-based Blackstone Group for $1.73 billion. "All you need to do is walk around the property and you can feel the energy."

* * *

One of the most popular poker venues on the Las Vegas Strip is changing locations and adding an array of player-friendly amenities. Wynn Las Vegas announced last week that its new poker room will debut May 26, offering an "elevated experience" and "spacious environment." The current poker room will remain open in the interim.

The new 8,600 square-foot room will feature 28 tables and sit adjacent to Surrender nightclub and Encore Beach Club, a short walk from the Wynn and Encore self-parking garages. Each table will be equipped with USB ports. Appealing to players who are also sports bettors, the room will have a sportsbook window and 35 65-inch televisions streaming live events. There will also be dedicated restrooms for poker players and a high-limit area.

“We are excited to introduce an enhanced poker room and look to create the ultimate poker gaming experience at Wynn,” said Director of Poker Ryan Beauregard. “The new room will incorporate carefully selected amenities specific to poker players that will set Wynn Las Vegas apart as a poker destination.”

* * *

Downtown, the Golden Nugget - Las Vegas recently unveiled $800,000 in upgrades to its spa and salon.

"The Spa and Salon at Golden Nugget is the only full-service spa and salon in Downtown Las Vegas and offers a personalized boutique spa experience, promoting an atmosphere of relaxation and rejuvenation," said Cindy O’Keefe, vice president of hotel operations, in a statement.
The Spa and Salon at Golden Nugget is the only full-service spa and salon in Downtown Las Vegas.

The Spa and Salon at Golden Nugget is the only full-service spa and salon in Downtown Las Vegas.

The 15,000-square-foot spa features eight treatment rooms, including couples massage rooms and male and female spa lounges. The spa lounges offer whirlpool Jacuzzis, dry saunas with cedar wood benches, herbal steam saunas, showers, vanity areas and refurnished locker rooms overlooking the downtown Las Vegas skyline.

The Spa is renowned for its 80-minute 24K Signature Facial and 80-minute 24K Signature Massage, which can both be customized with enhancements.

The Salon at Golden Nugget now has three stylist stations, two make-up artist stations, manicure and pedicure services and three additional treatment rooms dedicated to spray tanning and esthetics skincare services. Mirrored lighting was also added to all styling stations, along with high-tech lighting fixtures to create a bright environment and an open seating atrium.

In addition, improvements were made inside the fitness center with the addition of state-of-the-art equipment and a premium view of The Tank pool, Golden Nugget's picturesque year-round outdoor swimming experience.

* * *

The 20th anniversary celebration is in full swing at The Orleans Hotel and Casino. After a total redesign of the property's 1,885 guest rooms, the second phase of the $30 million project began with the opening of Alder & Birch Cocktails and Dining, a classic American steakhouse.

Featuring an assortment of shared plates, hand-crafted cocktails, house-made ginger beers and prime steaks, Alder & Birch has daily Social Hour specials from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the lounge area, offering $5 craft beers, $6 wines by the glass, $7 specialty cocktails and $8 small bites.

Later the month, The Orleans, located about two miles west of the Las Vegas Strip, will unveil its next dining concept — Ondori Asian Kitchen — followed by three additional dining concepts.

"Our guests have high expectations of us, and we are working hard to keep meeting and exceeding those expectations through an ambitious update of every corner of this property," said Tony Taeubel, senior vice president and general manager of The Orleans.

The renovations at The Orleans are part of a multi-year, $100 million-plus initiative to redesign nongaming amenities at Boyd Gaming properties, following last year's debuts of California Noodle House at the California Hotel and Casino, The Filament at Fremont Hotel and Casino, and Brigg’s Oyster Co. at Suncoast Hotel and Casino. Boyd Gaming is also planning new dining and entertainment concepts at properties in Louisiana, Iowa and Kansas, starting with the February opening of Rosewater Grill & Tavern, at Delta Downs Racetrack Casino Hotel in Vinton, Louisiana.

"Boyd Gaming has been a part of the Las Vegas community for more than 40 years, and we are proud to continue reinvesting in Southern Nevada," said Keith Smith, Boyd Gaming president and chief executive officer. "Over the coming months, we will be introducing exciting new dining and entertainment concepts throughout the Las Vegas Valley and beyond, giving customers great new reasons to sample Boyd Gaming’s unique brand of hospitality."

Gary Trask
Gary  Trask
Gary serves as Casino City's managing editor and has worked as a writer and editor more than 20 years. The Boston native was a member of the Poker Hall of Fame's inaugural Media Committee and a current member of the Women in Poker Hall of Fame voting panel.

Contact Gary at gary@casinocity.com and follow him on Twitter at @CasinoCityGT.

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