So here I sit on a lazy Tuesday summer afternoon at the Wynn Las Vegas sportsbook.
Check that. Here I sit on a lazy Tuesday summer afternoon, sinking into a comfortable couch in the center of the VIP area. I’m surrounded by an insanely eye-pleasing 21 million-pixel videowall stretching 137 feet wide by 11 feet high, and I can see all of it. Nearly 180 degrees of sports viewing pleasure, at the renovated and newly reopened Wynn Las Vegas sportsbook.
It’s the sportsbook equivalent of the new car look and feel, with all the bells and whistles in terms of technology. And that new car scent, of course.
The sparkling, shiny, bright, bold book is a little slice of sports betting heaven on the Las Vegas Strip. After a four-month renovation, workers applied the finishing touches Tuesday morning, and Johnny Avello – the Wynn’s executive director of race and sports - reopened the betting counter for business.
“It goes hand-in-hand with the rest of the hotel. We’re making changes throughout. Steve Wynn likes to keep things fresh,” Avello tells Covers. “I’m excited. We knew it would be a lot of work. We’ve been planning this for a long time, almost two years.”
And behind it all, as Avello alluded, was Wynn himself, never someone to do things halfway. The sportsbook closed for business just after the Final Four last April – literally a couple hours after North Carolina beat Gonzaga in the championship game – and moved to a temporary home next door at Encore.
“We closed the whole north end of Wynn, decided that we wanted to make it more exciting, new gorgeous screens, a brand-new bar, new VIP seating sections for race and sports people,” Wynn said in a conference call last week. “We’ve updated the restaurant. … Everybody’s gonna be dazzled, because the entire north side of Wynn is gonna look different than it did when we put the wall up, the day after the Final Four.”
Wynn wasn’t kidding. It’s dazzling, starting with the sportsbook’s main attraction – that massive videowall – serving as a shining beacon to sports fans across the casino floor. Each screen within the wall can show one event or break into quadrants which are still large enough for viewing throughout the space. And below the wall, around the whole perimeter, are nearly three dozen smaller TV monitors.
“It’s an absolutely striking experience to see it. When you see it for the first time, you just can’t believe how sharp everything looks,” Avello says. “The videowall looks like one continuous race and sports show. It’s an absolute clear, terrific picture. And no matter where you’re sitting, you get to experience it all.
“I think the videowall is probably my favorite thing about the room, and that’s because you can see the videowall from any part of the (room). I think it’s an attraction to draw you in. I think that’s what we tried to accomplish, and I think we’ve accomplished that.”
The closest seating to the center of the videowall: 49 carrels geared toward horse racing bettors – 41 with a standard single viewing screen, and eight VIP carrels in which screens allow for viewing of either two events, or one screen can be used much like a personal computer. The VIP carrels also have trays for food and beverage.
“The race experience is second to none. If you’re a race player coming to Las Vegas, I think you better visit our racebook,” Avello says.
Beyond the race carrels is a general seating area for 49, with chairs that swivel 360 degrees to allow for viewing of any and all segments of the videowall. Then there’s VIP seating for 40, with those comfy couches and more plush chairs, tables, and electrical and USB plug-ins.
Then comes Avello’s next favorite aspect of this renovation.
“I love the bar in the middle of the room. You’re right in the action,” he says of the lengthy 22-seat space that has great sightlines to the video screens, along with 100 beers – 15 on tap and another 85 in bottles or cans.