Owner of the D Las Vegas, Golden Gate, and All-New Circa Discusses Going Head-to-Head with Some of the Biggest Vegas Sports Gaming Forces
Steve Carp, Managing Editor of Gaming Today, recently sat down with Fremont Street casino power player Derek Stevens in an exclusive interview to discuss his new Circa Sports sportsbook operation. The interview is wide ranging and can be read in its entirety by going to GamingToday.com.
There is nothing ordinary about Derek Stevens. He is larger than life and dominates whatever room he walks into. Yet Stevens prides himself on staying in touch with his customers and can often be seen chatting it up with them at the 110-foot Long Bar at The D, a bar he designed as a place where he would love to hang out and just watch a game.
The majority owner of Golden Gate Hotel & Casino and the D Las Vegas, Stevens has been involved in casinos since 2008, when legend tells of how he and his brother decided to buy the Golden Gate casino property while on vacation. Their plan became a reality later that year.
An example of his excellent business savvy came in 2008 when he bought the MLB minor league team Las Vegas 51s, selling it three years later for $20 million.
Derek is a native of Detroit and is extremely proud of where he comes from. His family business, Cold Heading Company, was originally started by his grandfather selling nuts and bolts to the automobile industry in Michigan. Stevens took over as CEO in 1994. Not only is he savvy, he’s highly educated, having graduated from the University of Michigan in 1990 and later obtaining his MBA from Wayne State University in 1994.
The following are key excerpts and quotes by Stevens from the article written by the award-winning Steve Carp for the iconic Las Vegas sports and gaming publication, Gaming Today:
Not everyone gets to live their dream. Then again, not everyone is Derek Stevens.
The owner of the D Las Vegas and the money and power behind the under-construction Circa Resort and Casino always wanted to run his own sportsbook. He loves sports and betting on them. He also loves the idea of being on the other side of the counter.
Saturday at the Golden Gate on Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas, Stevens’ dream becomes reality. Circa Sports, the newest sportsbook operation in Nevada, will take its first bets after receiving approval from the state’s gaming commission last month.
In addition to the Golden Gate operation, Circa Sports will have its book at the D in mid-June after breaking away from its partnership with William Hill, which had run the book there for Stevens while he attempted to get licensed as a bookmaker.
And it’s all a prelude to the big one—the multi-level megabook at Circa come December 2020.
“We’re ready to go,” Stevens said. “The final details are being worked out and we’re really excited. We’re going to make everyone feel welcome. Whether you’re a big bettor or a small bettor, doesn’t matter. We want you to come in, place a bet, catch the games, have some fun.”
Catering to Sharps
The big bettors are a big part of Circa Sports’ vision. Stevens wants to return to the old days of Las Vegas where the mantra was “If you can bring it, you can bet it.”
“We’re not going to shy away from the big bettors,” Stevens said. “I’m not a guy who forgets this is gambling.”
He has had conversations with several known professional sports bettors, including Gaming Today columnist Bill Krackomberger. And they provided Stevens some valuable input as he goes forward with his Circa Sports venture.
“We’re going to take their action,” he said. “We’re going to welcome them in.”
Mobile Betting App
Stevens is also excited about the Circa Sports mobile phone app. He is cognizant that in-game wagering and the ease of placing a bet without a trip to a brick-and-mortar establishment is a fact of life in 2019 and he wants his app to be user friendly, convenient, and secure.
“It’s going to be a unique way for people to get involved,” he said. “Sure, we’d love for them to come visit us at the Golden Gate and the D, and eventually, when we open the book at Circa. But the phone app is very popular, especially for young people, and that’s an audience we’re trying to attract.”
No Vig Promotion
As an incentive to get customers to come visit Saturday, Circa Sports will not apply a vigorish to bets made at the Golden Gate property.
The zero-cent lines will apply to the NBA Finals, Major League Baseball, and the Champions League soccer final between Tottenham and Liverpool.
LINK TO FULL INTERVIEW HERE.
About Gaming Today:
Established in 1976, Gaming Today has been a staple for sports and gaming industry news in Las Vegas and across the country. It is the nation’s only newspaper dedicated to providing valuable up-to-date information on the casino industry and pari-mutuel race wagering. GamingToday.com contains news and features, plus expanded coverage in key areas—race and sports analysis, picks, tips, and handicapping.