Living In Sin: Joe Wise rates Vegas' best sportsbooks
Joe Wise is a 30-something professional sports bettor from Las Vegas, living the Sin City life you only see in movies and reality TV.
With football season only three weeks away, there’s no better way for a Vegas insider to share his wisdom with the masses than to develop power rankings for Las Vegas strip sportsbooks.
I could have gone with a simple thumbs up or thumbs down rating but what good would that do any of you guys looking to make a pilgrimage to our sports gambling mecca in search of bets, booze, big screens, buzz, bites and babes?
For my benefit and yours here’s the Wise guide to Living in Sin sportsbook style, ranking the top books in town. We’ll also offer the “best of sportsbooks” as our final send off to a week-long series dedicated to every sports fan’s favorite playground.
I did major research and took careful practice to walk through every book on the strip before finalizing my final six. Places like South Point, Green Valley, Red Rock and M have been excluded because no one wants to spend half the day in a cab just to get some action down plus the cab fare you’ll waste is better spent on the 500* mega-lock you purchased from Wayne Allen Root.
All bullshit aside, here is the rating system I employed to come up with accurate and somewhat scientific analysis of the most prominent sportsbooks on The Strip. Each book was judged on six categories and graded one to six on the amenities with a 36 being a perfect score.
Trust me, no book got close to perfect but each performed quite well in certain key areas:
1) Bets: Being able to get down action is one of the major reasons we come to Vegas instead of using our favorite offshore account or trusted local. There are books around town that welcome all comers and then there are shops run by large corporations who quiver when anyone remotely sharp sidles up to the window with more than a dime.
For our purposes, we’re calling out every book that won’t take action and commending the properties that will despite the fact they know who they are already. I realize every bet isn’t created equally but if you’re going to be in the business of booking - take limits or close up shop.
2) Booze: Now we’re talking! The second most important part of the sportsbook experience in my eyes is finding casinos that make it financially possible to support my excessive thirst for alcohol. I’m as big a supporter of this town as you can find but I’d be lying if I didn’t say the new drink ticket policies most casinos employ aren’t total bullshit.
I’m here to share the wisdom on where you can still get drinks for free if you’re betting and which properties make you bet nickels just to get a frosty beverage on the house. Cheap bastards.
3) Big Screens: We don’t come to Vegas to watch the biggest games in sports on 13-inch monitors straight out of Chevy Chase’s Vegas Vacation. In a city where gluttony is the norm why shouldn’t we expect our sportsbooks to offer humongous HD screens and Dolby-digital quality sound? Trust me, if your big screens suck and I can’t see the game from the back of the room I’ll make sure to tell the world about your shortcomings and avoid your book like the plague.
4) Buzz: If you’re looking to watch a game where you can hear a pin drop, go to a football game at Rice. When it comes to Vegas, each book offers very different scenes on Saturdays and Sundays in the fall. Certain books are known to be as loud and exciting as actual campus venues (with betting windows) while others are closer to PGA Tour galleries where an occasional golf clap breaks the silence. Everyone has different expectations of their book experience but that’s why you can lean on me to send you to the Tuscaloosa of sportsbooks, not Tulane.
5) Bites: Let’s not kid ourselves - good food is an integral part of the 14-hour bender you intend to spend in a sportsbook. Some books try and surround you with two-bit food options I wouldn’t serve my dog but there are others that offer gourmet cuisine delivered right to your seat. Food definitely isn’t the only ingredient to making a Saturday successful but good fare for “tailgating” purposes always makes a day in the book much more enjoyable.
6) Babes: I’m here to tell you every girl that will hand you a cocktail in this town won’t look like Kate Upton. Unfortunately so many women in the service industry look like they served Bugsy Siegel. As a general rule, the newer the book the better looking the women, but sometimes it gets to the point that I’d rather have a busted broad show me good service than a blonde bombshell who thinks her fake tits excuses the fact I had to wait an hour to get my drink.
Joe Wise will reveal his favorite six books all week with reviews of each betting shop. Check in on Monday as he explains why Lagasse Stadium made his list.