Don’t Expect Huge Super Bowl Parties On The Strip This Year

Written By Marc Meltzer on January 28, 2021

A lot has changed in the past 10 months because of coronavirus spreading throughout the world. Las Vegas has not been spared. This will be even more evident as casino operators manage their properties through coronavirus restrictions during the Super Bowl this year.

Las Vegas is still a tourist destination despite limited capacity in the casinos, restaurants, and bars. Visitors are still flocking to enjoy everything Las Vegas casinos can offer. There is one major difference on who’s visiting Las Vegas while coronavirus is hanging around.

According to the last Visitors Profile from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, 49% of visitors drove to Sin City in 2019. These are the people still visiting Las Vegas. Visitors driving to Las Vegas from California, Arizona, etc. are still coming to watch and wager on the Big Game.

The majority of the 51% who fly to Las Vegas won’t be visiting for the Super Bowl. This will make it easier for casinos to adhere to capacity limits directed by the Nevada government.

Nevada casino capacity limits

The Super Bowl viewing experience won’t be the same as in previous years. Coronavirus is still floating around Las Vegas and there are still capacity limits to keep people a safe distance from one another.

Casinos, restaurants, and bars are limited to only 25% capacity. In other words, there will be 75% fewer people watching the Super Bowl in sportsbooks and parties. The experience may still be fun but it won’t be the same as many will remember.

Nevada Gaming Control cracking down

Nevada Gaming Control (NGC) is taking these limits very seriously. Last week the governmental oversight of the gaming industry sent out a reminder about the current health and safety protocols to casino operators:

This Industry Notice is intended to remind licensees that, for Nevada Gaming Control Board (Board) purposes, each gaming property is still subject to the provisions of Directive 035, Section 8, which limits public gatherings to the lesser of 50 persons or 25% of the listed fire code capacity of the area in which such a gathering will occur. For properties of a gaming licensee with two or more distinct rooms, arenas, areas, or buildings, this provision may apply separately to each distinct gathering space where each gathering space is separated from other gathering spaces on the premises of the same property of the licensee by a rigid wall structure and where each gathering space has a distinct fire code occupancy capacity.

Finally, please note that the Board will strictly enforce Directive 035, including, without limitation on February 07, 2021. All potential violations of Directive 035 occurring in the context of the Super Bowl game or otherwise will be investigated and, where appropriate, may result in disciplinary action.

Mask up and respect the limits that the casino operators have to work with. This is for the safety of everyone. The capacity limits aren’t easy for anyone involved. All casino employees are following the rules to provide the best Super Bowl experience.

The capacity limits at casinos, restaurants and bars will be an issue for those wanting to watch the Super Bowl in Las Vegas. That being said, there are still plenty of places to watch and wager on the Big Game.

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Where to watch and wager

There won’t be as many Super Bowl viewing options as usual. Many of the parties aren’t happening. It’s not easy to operate a special event with such a small capacity. However, some casinos, restaurants, and bars will have viewing available.

Reminder: Seats at any restaurant in Las Vegas must be reserved for any occasion. The Super Bowl doesn’t get special treatment. Don’t forget to plan in advance.

Getting a seat inside of a sportsbook for the Super Bowl will be difficult as usual. There are fewer seats and some of those seats might have to be reserved in advance. Arriving early might not be enough to get a general admission seat.

Reserved seats inside the sportsbook at Circa sold out more than a week before the Super Bowl. Guests can arrive very early to get a seat at one of the video poker machines that overlook the sportsbook. Those are very limited. Stadium Swim has 300 general admission tickets and cabanas available if someone wants to watch the game outside.

Many seats inside sportsbooks on the Vegas Strip will be available only for reservations. Expect the limited seats to be reserved prior to the games. Casinos away from the Vegas Strip might have more free general admission seats available on game day.

There will be fewer watch parties and specials so it would make sense for anyone visiting to do some research and bring a mask.

Photo by AP / John Locher
Marc Meltzer Avatar
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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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