A Change for the Bettor

New Lucky’s Race and Sports Book scores a touchdown at the Riviera

By Renée LiButti
Vegas.com

As part of their ongoing renovations to the resort, the owners of the Riviera welcomed a new Lucky’s Race and Sports Book last month. It’s conveniently located just inside the doors adjacent to the Las Vegas Boulevard entrance.

“We moved the race and sports book near the heart of the casino floor so we could take advantage of the excitement and foot traffic the casino naturally generates,” said Dan Shapiro, director of marketing for Brandywine Bookmaking, which operates 17 Lucky’s locations throughout Nevada.

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The sleek new race area with individual carrels for horse players.

Relocating the Riviera’s sports book was just the beginning. In something of a cozy corner, patrons will now find several rows of comfy armchairs facing an impressive video wall. At its heart is an 82-inch high-definition projection TV complemented by a high-tech sound system to showcase “the marquee games.” A separate area that faces the flanking wall has also been set up for race fans. The main betting desk is tucked into a corner alcove between the two. Cocktail waitresses regularly pass by taking drink orders, and tall tables have been placed in the back for bettors who purchase food from the resort’s snack bars and eateries.

According to Shapiro, this new Lucky’s Race and Sports Book features one of the most extensive wagering menus you’ll find on the Strip. This means you can bet on almost any major sporting event here.

“In addition to football and baseball and the standard offerings that are found at most sports books, we book a lot of soccer from around the world. We’re even accepting bets on the Rugby World Cup from New Zealand and future bets on the Breeders’ Cup Classic horse race,” said Shapiro. “Soon we’ll have betting on the Kentucky Derby, and that race won’t be run until next May.”

These are all exciting changes. However, the most fascinating thing about the arrival of Lucky’s at the Riviera is the addition of a new outdoor walk-up betting window. It’s the first one of its kind on the Strip.

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Lucky's CEO/President Joe Asher poses with former Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman, who made the inaugural bet at the walk-up window.

“The walk-up window is a cool idea that Andy Choy, CEO of the Riviera, came up with in conjunction with our management,” said Shapiro. “We wanted to have something new that would generate a buzz and give us a presence on the Strip. It’s the only one we know of on the Las Vegas Strip.”

The walk-up betting window is open mainly on weekends and around major sporting events. Patrons can place bets on all the same sports offerings that are available inside. Former mayor Oscar Goodman was the first person to make a bet (a $100 charity bet and a $20 personal bet) during the grand opening party held on Sept. 1.

“The response to both the window and new sports book have been great. The window has gotten lots of buzz in the local and national media. We have an odds board in the window, so we get a lot of people stopping by the check out the lines and place a bet,” said Shapiro. “Inside, we’ve been very busy, especially on Saturdays and Sundays. It’s a comfortable book and a great place to watch games.”

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I’m a Las Vegas native. By profession, I write at Vegas.com. Mostly about the city’s hotels, but on other topics – gaming and transportation – too. I really love staying at hotels. And the ones here are among the biggest and best in the world. Some key things I’ve learned: Resort fees are inescapable (frustrating but true), a friendly attitude at the front desk may score you a great view and over-the-top room amenities – bath butlers, Japanese tea service, menus with “intimate” items – do exist. What else should you know about me? Well, I’m comfortable at a blackjack table. And I like eating late-night pancakes in hotel coffee shops. A lot. Follow Renee on Google+.