Sports books were once an amenity for customers. The rooms were created to accept wagers on sporting events from anyone. They were also designed to give gamblers a place to relax in the casino if they needed a break from the tables. That hasn’t been the case for more than a few years. Corporate casino operators look at every square inch of a casino as space that they should be monetizing. The sports book is no different.
In 2009, Lagasse’s Stadium opened at The Palazzo. This isn’t only a sports book, but also a bar and restaurant. When it first opened there was even a little casino area with blackjack, craps, and slot machines. This was the beginning of a new era of sports books.
At it’s core, Lagasse’s Stadium is technically a bar and restaurant at The Palazzo. If someone wants to watch a game, they’ll either sit at the bar, a table, or couches and be expected to purchase something.
Between the unique layout at Lagasse’s Stadium that includes a bar, restaurant, waitress service, couches, and more this sportsbook, bar, and restaurant has always been in high demand for every major sporting events. The desire to watch the games here has been so high that reservations often included a minimum required spend for guests during busy events.
The minimum for each person to spend started at $25 or $50 in the early days. It’s never been too difficult to spend that much money on food and beverage with Vegas Strip prices. Today, the minimum requirement at Lagasse’s Stadium to watch football is closer to $100. The required spend is even higher for events like the Super Bowl and March Madness.
This bar, restaurant, and sports book was once the only sports book to require a minimum spend to reserve a seat to watch the games. That’s no longer the case, whether the sports book offers a part of a restaurant of not.
Sports books today
Demand to watch live sports around the United States has never been higher. The Las Vegas sports book experience has never been better, with better viewing and more comfortable seating. Combine the two and you have huge demand to watch the biggest sporting events in Las Vegas.
Super Bowl weekend has always been the busiest weekend of the year for sports books. More people wager and watch this game than any other during the year. The first weekend March Madness has grown to the point of where the first four days of the NCAA Basketball Tournament rivals Super Bowl Sunday. Meanwhile, the NFL continues to become more popular as fantasy games become more popular.
Casino operators are always looking for a way to increase revenue. While sports books are relatively quiet approximately 85 percent of the year, they are overflowing for some of the most popular events. Casino operators took this free amenity and turned it into a revenue generator when possible in recent years.
Charging for sports book seats
The quiet times in sports books remain slow. Accordingly, there’s no charge to watch the game, regardless of placing wagers most days of the year. However, casino operators with traditional sports books have started charging for the privilege of watching the games. The money spent could be used towards:
- A reservation fee
- Minimum amount wagered on the specific event
- Food and/or beverage
- A VIP experience
Last year, Caesars Palace started to charge for seats in their sports book for some major events. This year they expanded the seating fees for almost every football game. They even have an easy-to-use website for reserving a seat in the sports book for Saturday college football and Sunday, Monday, and Thursday night NFL games.
Reserved seat prices at Caesars Palace are listed between $50 and $100 per person. It also includes two or three drinks. Reserved VIP seats on a separate level of the sports book are $250 and higher per person. These seats include all-you-can-drink and access to the short Seven Stars line to place wagers.
During Monday and Thursday night games the majority of seats should be open to the public. The individual seat reservations are for the VIP section. These nights are single games, so they don’t have as much demand as the full days of games on the weekend.
Caesars Palace isn’t alone charging to watch football in their traditional sports book. Many other sports books have a fee for reserved VIP seating that only occupies a portion of the sports book. Some VIP seating is reserved for high rollers, so check with your host.
There are still plenty of general admission seats available in most casinos. Caesars Palace is taking a different approach, and appears to be trying to sell every seat in advance of the games if possible.
Pay per seat isn’t going away
Paying to reserve seats, VIP or otherwise isn’t going away anytime soon. Charging for the best seat in the sports book is an easy way to generate more revenue for a casino operator. This isn’t a huge money maker for casino corporations, but every little bit helps.
If there’s a way to generate more revenue in a casino, the bean counters will find it. In addition to the reservation fees, you may notice more restaurants and bars tied in with the sports book. Even if there’s no charge for a seat, the connected sports restaurant and bar could generate greater sales on drinks and burgers.
Welcome to New Vegas, where there’s a fee for anything that customers demand.