A cynic could have easily arrived at a “seen one, seem ‘em all” conclusion when it came to Las Vegas sportsbooks over the past decade. Although varying in scale and grandeur, the vast majority of sportsbooks unveiled in the city since the late 1990s followed the same basic outline. But that’s not the case with the book at Aria, which opened in late 2009. MGM Resorts International took a creative approach with the sportsbook at CityCenter. Some love it. Some loathe it. But it undeniably brought some originality, something the Las Vegas sportsbook scene desperately needed.
Betting/Lines: Instead of a traditional betting board, Aria’s numbers cascade on flat screen televisions near the betting window. Casual bettors will find everything they need there.Aria doesn’t cater as much to the community of sharps. Its betting menu is less expansive than some other shops. Aria offers props and futures like everywhere else, but its hold percentage tends to be higher than some competitors on those wagers.The two self-serve machines to the right of the betting window are convenient and high quality. They are more reliable and newer than many of their counterparts around town. Open an account and start punching tickets to skip the lines.
Value: Adjacent to the sportsbook is the Skybox Sports Bar and Grill, a perfect place to grab a meal without missing a down or pitch.Skybox is a more high-end sports bar than the ones tourists frequent in their own towns. The restaurant fits in well with the vibe at Aria, which is arguably the fanciest and best-located resort on the Strip.The ad campaigns that declare CityCenter “the heart of Las Vegas” aren’t hyperbole. With its centralized location, no other resorts are too far of a walk from Aria. But there’s not much need to venture far. Top-notch guest rooms, a wide variety of restaurants and one of the most popular poker rooms in the world are just a few things that have drawn rave reviews at Aria.
Experience: Not all seats are created equally at the Aria sportsbook. The majority of them are pointed towards one of two 9-by-16 foot projection screens with a surrounding smattering of flat screens.That’s where visitors want to sit, facing either north or west in direction. A few seats and couches — all of which are relatively new and extremely comfortable — are scattered in other directions. Sit there and it might be difficult to find a comfortable vantage point of a desired game. At least sports bettors aren’t forced to fight horse and dog bettors for seats. The race book is separate at the Aria, on the other side of a small wall.
Extras: Aria has everything a visitor could want, and even if it didn’t, it’s attached to other MGM resorts with more.A walkway connects Aria to Monte Carlo. A rail system takes people from Aria to Bellagio. Shopping center Crystals and hotel-only Vdara and Mandarin Oriental are all a part of the CityCenter complex.There are four pools, 17 places to eat and three clubs within Aria alone.