It’s football season! We know this because a new pro football website,, debuted this week and because NFL teams begin training camp this week. The Hall Of Fame game will be the first NFL preseason game and that takes place on Sunday August, 4. The first regular season NFL game is a month later on September 5 with the following Sunday being the first full day of NFL football. It’s time to get busy planning Sunday’s for the rest of the year!

All sportsbooks are great.

Some sportsbooks in Las Vegas are better than others but the concept of hanging out, betting on games, watching all 8 to 15 of those games at once without paying a cover charge is undeniably great. Most people can’t do this at home and with sports fans from all over the country congregated in a small space, why would you want to? The fun in casinos always provides a good time but the camaraderie in the sportsbook is unlike any else you’ll find in any casino. For sports fans like me a Sunday in the sportsbook used to be one of the main reasons to visit Vegas.

Here’s a brief rundown of some of my favorite sportsbooks in Las Vegas with one caveat – I’m not including Lagasse’s Stadium. Lagasse’s Stadium is in a world of it’s own. It doubles as a bar and restaurant where  you sometimes have to eat and/or drink a minimum amount of food in order to get a seat to watch the games. A session of football games at Lagasse’s Stadium is worth the money but I want to focus on sportsbooks where there is no assumed cost and you can just sit down and watch the games.

The Venetian sportsbook was renovated in 2011 and is beautiful. The TV screens are so big, bright and well lit that they can be seen from the lobby if you can maneuver your eyes around the slot machines. The Venetian sportsbook was built and is operated by Cantor Gaming and has electrical outlets at the betting station desks which is convenient for people that need to charge their mobile devices or want to keep a full charge on a laptop to track their fantasy team. There is a lot of standing room inside the sportsbook in case you don’t arrive early enough to get a seat and a bar behind the betting station desks where you can drink, watch the games and play video poker.

The sportsbook at The Mirage underwent a vastly needed major renovation earlier this year (See pics at Vegas Chatter). They added a massive, adjustable TV screen that sprawls the entire sportsbook and can show a multitude of games in different sizes. The Mirage also removed an entire section of old desks and chairs for horse racing bettors and added leather (maybe faux leather) chairs that create what is probably the most comfortable seating in any free sportsbook in Las Vegas.

Downtown Vegas is great for a lot of things but there aren’t a lot of great sportsbook options. The El Cortez and Golden Nugget have sportsbooks with friendly staffs but the spaces are relatively small. Earlier this year the Plaza also opened a newly renovated sportsbook that’s operated by William Hill (Pics on Vegas Chatter also). The space is huge and filled with cocktail and bistro tables for eating, drinking and being merry. The only drawback with the Plaza sportsbook is that its TV’s are monitors similar to your HDTV at home and not theater screens like some of its siblings on the Vegas strip.

The Venetian, The Mirage and Plaza sportsbooks are just some favorites but Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, Red Rock Resort, Tropicana, and Wynn all have large sportsbooks that are great places to watch the games. If you prefer a more intimate experience you may enjoy the Hard Rock and Silverton which are on the small side. Both are both newly renovated and fairly quiet 5 days of the week but when football season begins they will be as crowded as every other sportsbook big or small.



Marc Meltzer covers Las Vegas, gaming and men’s lifestyle for various outlets. Check out his blog at Edge Vegas.
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