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Circa’s Casino halfway home

Dec 11, 2019 3:04 AM

On a chilly Monday morning in Las Vegas, Derek Stevens was quick to dismiss any notion that it gets too cold here in the winter to take a swim, promising that Circa Resort & Casino’s multi-tiered six pools will be open year-round.

“If you’re coming from winter to Las Vegas, the pool will really be an attraction,” Stevens said during a 45-minute tour of the 1.25 million-square-foot, 777-room resort that’s currently under construction on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas.

The pools will stretch across 18 feet from front to back on three tiered levels to maximize sightlines. Stevens said they’ll be heated to about 103 degrees in the winter, which is like pools used at resorts during the winter in Aspen, Colo., or Park City, Utah.

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Stevens noted that Monday marked the halfway point in its 22-month construction process. The project will be the first ground-up resort built in downtown Las Vegas since the Sundance opened on July 2, 1980 on land owned by Moe Dalitz, an organized crime figure. In 1987, the Sundance was sold to Lincoln Management Group and renamed as Fitzgeralds Las Vegas. Today, it’s known as the D Las Vegas.

He declined to put a price tag on the project, saying only that Circa is “on time and on budget.”

Beside six pools on the fifth floor of the resort, Stevens said they’ll share space with an outdoor casino featuring blackjack tables and other games, along with about 730 cabanas.

Sporting events, such as the Super Bowl or Vegas Golden Knights games, will be shown on a 12-million-pixel screen that’s 41 feet high and 134-feet wide.

“This is a real critical feature of the hotel,” he said. “I expect 4,000 people to come through here every day. This is going to be a destination pool.”

Circa is scheduled to open in December 2020 at the intersection of Main and Fremont Streets, where Stevens expects more than the pools are going to attract visitors and gamblers.

Stevens is betting on a state-of-the-art sportsbook to capture the attention of bettors. Circa’s sportsbook is the centerpiece of the property, occupying three levels and housing a multi-story, high-definition screen that will show several sporting events. Stevens said they might have 10 baseball or football games on at one time.

“I generally don’t like to bet on one game, guys,” Stevens told reporters. “I like to bet on multiple games.”

Live betting odds will be posted on digital screens posted throughout the resort’s sportsbook and advertising the Circa sports betting app. Circa Sports opened for business in June at two casinos, the D Las Vegas and the Golden Gate, which are both owned by Stevens and his brother, Greg. Stevens said they are “looking for opportunities” to expand their Circa Sports brand, but he didn’t say what those opportunities might be.

Stevens said betting handle in Las Vegas is good and only growing. The Nevada Gambling Control Board reported sports betting handle rose 2.9 percent in October to $543.9 million.

“Sports is one hell of a growth industry,” he said. “Demand for sports wagering continues to grow … the numbers will show it this year.”

Circa’s two-story casino will offer 1,360 slot machines and 49 table games. Las Vegas’ neon kicking cowgirl Vegas Vickie will also be a signature feature in the lobby.

Stevens said they’ll start announcing Circa’s restaurants and bar venues throughout next year and begin marketing the hotel’s suites in August with reservations available in January 2021.

Currently, Genting Group is building the $4.3 billion Resorts World Las Vegas on the Strip, which is set to open in 2021, along with the expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center and Allegiant Stadium.

“I want Resorts World to open as soon as possible,” Stevens said. “Getting more people to Las Vegas is critical to everyone’s success.”

Circa is also building a garage on the west side of Main on property once owned by Boyd Gaming, which will be connected to the resort with a bridge over the street.

Stevens described the nine-story, 1,000-space facility as a transportation hub for downtown, allowing Uber and Lyft drivers to bring more Las Vegas residents and visitors downtown. He said no decision has been made on whether to charge visitors and guests for parking.

“I don’t want to charge for parking,” said Stevens, adding that they’ll have to evaluate the idea.

He said 600 workers are working three shifts around-the-clock to get the project done on time. Once completed, Circa will be the tallest structure north of the Las Vegas Strip. Currently, that title belongs to the D Las Vegas.

“We are living in a pretty special time in Las Vegas,” Stevens said. “There’s so much new product coming online.”

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