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Derek Stevens has always fantasized about running his own sports book. Now he’ll get to see how the other half lives.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board unanimously approved issuing a license to Stevens and Circa Sports Thursday, paving the way for that property as well as the D Las Vegas and the Golden Gate to operate their own sports books.

The Golden Gate book will open June 1. Circa, a 777-room resort, will have a multi-level book when it opens in December 2020.

“It’s no secret that I’m an avid sports bettor – I’m taking everything I’ve learned and everything I love and bringing it all to Circa Sports to create the best possible experience for our guests,” Stevens said. “Circa Sports will take people back to old-school Las Vegas hospitality, where our guests and oddsmakers interact closely in a friendly and fun environment.”  

Stevens, a Detroit native, told the story of the first time he walked into the Las Vegas Hilton’s SuperBook and was blown away.

“I said, ‘I love this,’” He said. “I also remember going to the Stardust and having that sports handicapper’s library and going across the street to the Riviera to see what the lines were there. I want to bring back that atmosphere back to our sports book at Circa.

“There’s going to be a certain ‘Wow’ factor when you walk into the Circa sportsbook. We want people in the room. We want that certain vibe you get when you’re watching a game and all the excitement that comes with it.”

The book includes a television broadcast studio for the Vegas Sports Information Network (VSiN) and the goal is to have 24-hour programming from the site at the book.

“I really believe the Circa sports book is going to be a destination location,” Stevens said. “It’s going to be the place for fantasy football draft parties, for NFL Sundays. For all sports, actually.”

The D’s sportsbook had been run by William Hill U.S. However, with the plan to go independent, Stevens hired Matt Metcalf to oversee Circa Sports. Together, they visited most of the sports books in town to garner ideas to incorporate into the Circa book.

“He’s a really bright guy who understands the industry and where it’s going,” Stevens said of Metcalf, who had worked at the Imperial Palace and the Westgate SuperBook before accepting the position last summer as the sports book director.

“There is truly no casino operator who understands sports betting quite like Derek Stevens,” Metcalf said. “Together, we’re creating a one-of-a-kind fan experience that can be enjoyed by bettors of all types. We plan to make placing bets easier than ever for advanced bettors, while ushering in a new wave of novice players who are seeking the advice of experts to help guide the way.” 

Meanwhile, construction on Circa continues on schedule. The property recently had two concrete pours to build the foundation and Stevens said he’s amazed at the precision that has been applied to the building of the resort-casino.

“With a project of this size, what stands out to me is how exactly to the day the progress is,” he said. “It is mapped out to a fine degree.”  

The goal is to be customer friendly, take higher limits on sports wagers and provide a fun experience in the Circa sportsbook.

“We have a great opportunity here,” Stevens said. “I’m very excited about Circa Sports and what we’re going to do.”

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About the Author

Steve Carp

Steve Carp is a six-time Nevada Sportswriter of the Year. A 30-year veteran of the Las Vegas sports journalism scene, he covered the Vegas Golden Knights for the Las Vegas Review-Journal from 2015-2018.

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