Casino Magnate Derek Stevens Gives Hints On New Vegas Sportsbooks

Written By Marc Meltzer on October 25, 2018

Last year, the Golden Gate Casino in downtown Las Vegas expanded and virtually doubled the size of its casino in less than a week. The casino will expand once again when its new sportsbook opens, likely before summer.

The new sportsbook at the Golden Gate has been scheduled to open by the third quarter of 2019 but should be ready for the public even sooner.

PlayUSA recently sat down to talk sportsbooks with Derek Stevens owner of the Golden Gate, The D, and a new casino tentatively called 18 Fremont that should open in 2020 across the street from the Golden Gate.

With sports betting becoming legalized in states across the country, operators are having to get savvy and bring enticing new additions to the table. A famously avid bettor himself, Stevens loves to talk Nevada sports betting and has some spectacularly grand plans for his upcoming sportsbooks.

The opening date for the new Golden Gate Casino sportsbook is pending a regulatory approval for Stevens to begin taking sports wagers. Currently, William Hill operates the sportsbooks at the Golden Gate and The D. That will change in 2019 when Derek Stevens brings the sportsbook operation in-house.

In September, he submitted paperwork to the Nevada Gaming Control Board to start taking sports bets. He now expects that to receive approval by the second quarter of 2019.

Once Stevens receives approval from gaming, he expects to open the new sportsbook at the Golden Gate. A few days later, the sportsbook at The D will open with new TV’s and new lines and odds created in-house.

The New Golden Gate Sportsbook

The new Golden Gate sportsbook is currently under construction in a “secret location” that’s not so secret. The new sportsbook is being built behind a false wall in the recently expanded section of the casino that used to be home to La Bayou and an alley. The sportsbook will extend all the way to the end of the existing building.

It will become the hub of operations for sportsbook operator Stevens. The D will act as a satellite sportsbook for the time being, and 18 Fremont will become the largest sportsbook in downtown Las Vegas when it opens in 2020.

Stevens says that the size of the casino floor is one thing that makes the Golden Gate unique. Everything in this casino is undersized. The small footprint and low ceilings give a different energy than most casinos. (And they certainly have one of the most fun craps games in Las Vegas.)

The sportsbook will continue the vibe from the existing casino. It will be an old-school, charming sportsbook that is appropriately sized for the casino. The single-level sportsbook won’t be huge but it will fit the cozy casino perfectly.

Despite the small size, Stevens says there will be ample locations to place wagers while the games are on. There will likely be more betting windows than we expect and other options available to place wagers. While kiosks and mobile will likely be a part of the mix for guests to place quick wagers, it’s a bit too early to get into the specifics of the technology and legal approvals.

The Golden Gate sportsbook will include some seats to be reserved, and a single large screen that will be able to be divided into however many games need to be shown.

The D Sportsbook(s)

Initially, The D sportsbook won’t see much of a change when Stevens takes over operations from William Hill. They’ll clean up the existing space and replace the old TV’s. This is a temporary solution, as Stevens is in the very early stages of planning a souped-up sportsbook for The D.

There’s no set timeline for construction. However, there are already thoughts on how and where a new sportsbook can be added at The D. For the time being, this will be sort of a satellite sportsbook to the other properties.

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18 Fremont Sportsbook

Plans are still in motion for the sportsbook at 18 Fremont and there are a few things we know for sure. It will have the world’s largest TV screen and feature stadium seating. It’s set to occupy two floors–the second level will literally be a different floor on the elevator.

The sportsbook might be huge, but it may not take the title of “World’s Largest Sportsbook” from the nearby Westgate Superbook. However, it will be the largest sportsbook in downtown Las Vegas. This is certainly a draw for the thousands of tourists that stay, eat and play in the Fremont Street area.

Stevens now owns 10% of VSiN (Vegas Sports and Information Network). The sportsbook will have a studio for the station as well as five other radio studios for live remote broadcasts.

Additionally, thanks in part to a partnership with the Golden Knights, The D will have 30 different radio remotes this year without even having a broadcast facility. 

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Marc Meltzer

Marc grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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