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September 30, 2014

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Sports books to visit this football season: Walk-up window at Riviera leads list

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Steve Marcus

Ticket writer Russ Gilgan poses at the new Lucky’s sports book outdoor, walk-up betting window in the Riviera Thursday, September 1, 2011. The display at left shows betting lines for NFL and college football.

Outdoor, Walk-Up Betting Window

Ticket writer Russ Gilgan poses at the new Lucky's sports book outdoor, walk-up betting window in the Riviera Thursday, September 1, 2011. The display at left shows betting lines for NFL and college football. Launch slideshow »

Weekend tourists who were previously too preoccupied walking the Strip to step in a sports book and place a wager will find a solution starting this football season.

The Riviera’s new sports book, which opened Thursday, features an outdoor walk-up betting window on Las Vegas Boulevard. It’s the first of its kind and the brainchild of the Riviera and Lucky’s, the operator of the new betting shop.

“We kind of thought about it, kicked it around internally and thought, ‘ well no one has ever done that, so let’s go for it and see what happens, ’” explained Lucky’s President and CEO Joe Asher. “Hopefully, we will pick up some business from people walking by. I think it’s going to be pretty successful.”

Lucky’s — which runs books at Terrible’s, the Plaza and Fitzgeralds — wanted to make a splash with its first location on the Strip. The company knew it would have an opportunity to implement the betting window once it deemed the front of the casino as the best location for the new sports book.

“Logistically, the way it worked out, it just made sense and was easy enough to make happen,” Asher said. “It’s a good location for us. The Riviera is a historic property with a lot of history to it.”

Riviera President Andy Choy first came up with the idea, according to Asher, and escorted the Lucky’s team to where he thought the window would fit after they toured the property. They began imagining how it could work with a monitor behind the window serving as the betting board for customers.

Those visions turned into reality on opening day Thursday. The window is located close to the actual book, which features 47 televisions and other amenities.

A grand opening event with former mayor Oscar Goodman is scheduled for Sept. 8 — coinciding with the first NFL game of the year between the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers.

“We’re excited about the addition of an all new Lucky’s Race and Sports Book to our casino,” Choy said in a statement. “We’re proud to be partnering with a leader in the race and sports book industry and look forward to a long relationship.”

The new spot at the Riviera is at the top of our list of sports books to visit this football season. Click through below for the rest, which are presented in no specific order.

    • Sports Books
      Photo by Leila Navidi

      Las Vegas Hilton Superbook

      Anyone who thinks the Hilton has slipped at all in its place among the elite betting shops in Las Vegas is sorely mistaken.

      In addition to having the most space in town and one of the largest betting menus, the Hilton devotes even more room to football. The property opens the Hilton Theater every Sunday to show the NFL on 11 screens, a must-see attraction for tourists and locals.

    • Aria Preview
      Photo by Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun

      Aria sports book

      CityCenter’s sports book has arguably the most modern feel in Las Vegas.

      Although it’s smaller than most spots to make this list, Aria makes up for the size with the highest quality projection screens and comfortable seating options. The two newer self-serve betting machines and neighboring Skybox restaurant are pluses.

    • M Casino-In-Running Wagering

      M Resort

      Cantor Gaming has done an exceptional job with all its properties — Tropicana, Hard Rock, Cosmopolitan — but the environment at M’s book keeps it as the gold standard.

      It’s always packed on game days with some of the valley’s sharpest bettors. Another frequent visitor of M’s sports book? Floyd Mayweather Jr.

    • Art Manteris
      Photo by Richard Brian

      Green Valley Ranch and Red Rock resorts

      These are interchangeable betting paradises. They’re luxurious with excess screens and seats.

      Picking between the two really comes down to location, with Green Valley Ranch in Henderson and Red Rock in Summerlin.

    • joestatue
      Photo by Sam Morris

      Caesars Palace

      There’s still a special feel to watching a game in the center of the action at one of Las Vegas’ most famous resorts.

      The book hasn’t undergone major changes in years, which gives it some of its charm. The environment is second-to-none on football game days.

    • Horse Bettor: John Astarita

      Wynn

      One word comes to mind when thinking of the Wynn sports book — comfort.

      It’s in the heart of the casino, but tucked away enough to feel secluded. The Wynn is also a necessary stop when shopping for the best line, as it will often post different numbers than surrounding competitors.

    • Super Bowl XLV Wedding at Lagasse's Stadium
      /IS Photography/ImagesofVegas.com

      Lagasse’s Stadium at the Palazzo

      It’s the most unique sports betting experience in Las Vegas, with a creative layout and excellent food from Executive Chef Emeril Lagasse.

      Lagasse’s Stadium has developed an overwhelmingly positive reputation in the two years since it opened. That’s unlikely to change now with Cantor Gaming acquiring the book and its sister shop at the Venetian.

    Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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    1. I would have to add the sports book at the Santa Fe Station to this list. It's comfortable and seating at the bar affords a good view of the big screen action. Add in its proximity to the poker room (which also has a good number of screens) and it makes for a nice place for those of us who something other than just slots.