Sports betting in the US began sweeping the nation after 2018’s Supreme Court ruling overturned a federal ban on the industry outside of the Silver State. But sportsbooks in other states still can’t hold a candle to the betting shops found in Las Vegas.
Sin City has been the beating heart of America’s sportsbook scene since 1949, and Las Vegas is home to the world’s largest sportsbook facility, the aptly named SuperBook located within the Westgate Resort and Casino. In addition, many of the world’s most prominent bookmakers call Las Vegas home.
Unfortunately, with all of that variety on hand, most tourists who head to town hoping to cash in on their favorite team wind up making a few mistakes along the way.
If you’re planning a trip to Las Vegas anytime soon, the following guide offers up six tips about the city’s sportsbooks that only local residents know.
1 – Shopping Around for the Best Odds, Lines, and Point Spreads Is Essential
One of the most common mistakes made by non-locals when betting on sports concerns the odds, lines, and spreads posted from sportsbook to sportsbook.
Let’s say you’re staying at the MGM Grand on the Strip, but your wanderings have brought you to Caesars Palace an hour or so before a big game.
You check in with the Caesars sportsbook to find the Dallas Cowboys listed as -185 moneyline favorites hosting the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football. The Cowboys are also listed as -3.5 faves, so you go ahead and fire off a wager on both the moneyline and the spread.
When you get back to the MGM Grand, however, passing through that venue’s sportsbook provides a shock. Here, a Dallas moneyline wager offers improved odds of -170, while the point spread sits at a much more comfortable -3.
Later on that night, as the Cowboys finish off a thrilling 27-24 victory in overtime, you celebrate wildly until a cruel realization sets in. That $185 ticket you hold on the moneyline is good for a nice $100 profit, but you also bet $100 on the -3.5 point spread. A game-winning field goal isn’t enough to cover that number, so you wind up losing that second point spread bet by a half-point, a margin known as “the hook” in sports betting parlance.
Had you simply known to check a reputable US sports betting site, where up to the minute odds, lines, and spreads are listed for every conceivable sport, you would’ve spotted those improved odds offered by MGM Resorts and pounced on them instead.
Here’s how the math breaks down on this particular sports betting blunder:
- $185 on (-185) moneyline = +$100
- $100 on (-3.5) point spread = -$100
- $285 in total wagers = $0
- $170 on (-170) moneyline = +$100
- $100 on (-3) point spread = +$90
- $270 in total wagers = +$190
Yep, you read that correctly… By neglecting to “shop” around for the best odds, you just cost yourself $190 in potential profit. If you don’t make this mistake on your next sports betting excursion to Sin City, be sure to keep yourself up to date on the various operators found from the Strip to Downtown and everywhere in between.
Shopping around also gives you an idea of types of bets are up for grabs. You’d be surprised at what available US sport betting options you may not know about.
2 – Navigating Sportsbook Operators Is Easier Than It Seems
You’ll find 28 casino resorts along the Strip alone, not to mention dozens more in the outlying areas like Downtown, North Las Vegas, the Boulder Strip, Henderson, and Summerlin.
Knowing this, it can definitely seem like a daunting task to keep track of which sportsbooks are run by which operator. And with each operator setting their own odds, lines, and point spreads with exacting precision, examples like the Dallas Cowboys debacle described earlier are all too common.
For that reason, Las Vegas locals who love betting on sports like to list the casinos in Las Vegas not by region, but rather by bet shop operator. Below, you’ll find a comprehensive listing of the major sportsbook operators, including independents that only serve a single casino, so you can start shopping for lines like a true local.
Las Vegas Casino Sportsbooks by Operator
- Westgate SuperBook
- South Point
- Treasure Island
- Wynn Las Vegas
- Encore Las Vegas
MGM Resorts International
- Circus Circus
- Mandalay Bay
- MGM Grand
- Park MGM
- The Mirage
- New York-New York
- Caesars Palace
- The Linq
- Planet Hollywood
- Red Rock Resort
- Green Valley Ranch
- Palace Station
- Santa Fe Station
- Texas Station
- Boulder Station
- The Cosmopolitan
- Hard Rock
- M Resort
- The Palazzo
- The Venetian
- Eastside Cannery
- Gold Coast
- Jokers Wild
- The Orleans
- Sam’s Town
William Hill Betting Kiosks
- Binion’s Gambling Hall and Hotel
- Casino Royale
- Downtown Grand Casino
- Ellis Island Casino
- Four Queens
- Hooters Casino
- Max Casino at the Westin
- Plaza Hotel and Casino
- Silver Sevens Hotel and Casino
- SLS Hotel and Casino
- The D
- Golden Gate Hotel and Casino
- Alamo Casino
- Lucky Club
- Siegel Slots
- Silver Nugget
- Casino Valle Verde
- Club Fortune Casino
- Emerald Island Casino
- Longhorn Casino
- Railroad Pass Hotel and Casino
- Skyline Casino
3 – A Decent Bet and a Small Tip Will Earn You Complimentary Drink Tickets
Want to know the secret to drinking for free in a Las Vegas casino, all without ever spinning the slots or touching a table game?
Well, all it takes is a reasonably large wager coupled with the willingness to tip your ticket writer.
As you know well by now, Las Vegas sportsbooks vary in their policies based on the operator, but they all have one thing in common—complimentary drink tickets passed out to bettors in the know. For the most part, you’ll find a system in place that loosely follows the model below:
Las Vegas Sports Betting Tiers for Comped Drinks
|Bet Size||Comped Drinks|
|$1 – $100||1|
|$101 – $200||2|
|$201 – $300||3|
|$300 and up||5|
These aren’t hard and fast guidelines by any means, so expect a fair amount of divergence from operator to operator, and even from ticket writer to ticket writer.
Catch a sportsbook employee on a bad day and you might get stiffed on your drink tickets, despite a copious tip slid in their direction. On the other hand, when the ticket writer is in a good mood, a tiny $10 bet might earn you a handful of drink tickets, tips notwithstanding.
Speaking of tips, they’re the price of admission paid to (usually) collecting a complimentary drink or two when you place a bet. I like to go with a $1 per $50 wagered ratio when tipping ticket writers, but you can modify that as you see fit. Just be sure to slide them a buck or two, and if they don’t budge, ask if they have any drink tickets.
These comped drink tickets are only good until midnight on that same day though, so be sure to hit the sportsbook bar in a timely fashion to enjoy a beer or cocktail on the house.
4 – You Can Always Place a Wager Using a Mobile App Anywhere In-State
Remember that scenario from the first entry, in which an unlucky bettor gets shafted because they’re stuck at Caesars Palace when MGM Resorts has the better odds on the board?
Well, that headache could’ve easily been avoided if the bettor had the MGM Resorts mobile sports betting app downloaded to their favorite device. Most tourists are well aware that casinos offer in-house bet shops, but many aren’t familiar with the online and mobile options.
After signing up at the cage with your favorite sportsbook operator, then downloading the app to your smartphone, you’ll be all set to place wagers on the go. You can find a detailed breakdown of the major operators and their mobile offerings in the table below:
Breakdown of Las Vegas Online/Mobile Sportsbook Apps
|Operator||iOS||Android||1st Deposit||Min. Reload||Min. Bet||Comps|
The best part about using online mobile betting apps is that they extend your field of access to the entire Silver State. In other words, you might be stuck in traffic on the Nevada side of the Hoover Dam, but so long as you’re within state lines, you can place wagers as you please.
As always, be sure to shop around for the best odds, lines, and point spreads, as the numbers will vary based on each app’s affiliated operator.
5 – Mistakes Made by the Ticket Writer Are Always “Action” Unless Corrected Immediately
Circling back to the example wager from earlier, imagine yourself celebrating big winners on Dallas (-3) and the -170 moneyline as you head to the cage to collect your winnings.
Only then do you make a disastrous discovery… As it turns out, your betting slip actually says (1H) alongside the aforementioned odds. That provision refers to the first half of the game, meaning your wagers are judged based on the score at halftime.
In this case, the Cowboys were losing 17-14 at the half, which leaves both of your wagers completely worthless. You can complain to the ticket writer, and even the sportsbook manager, all you want, but they’ll never issue a refund on a bet accepted as action.
Because the sportsbooks in Las Vegas use a numbered system to list their offerings, many rookie bettors make the same basic mistake. They see Dallas vs. Green Bay and don’t think twice, calling out the first number listed to the ticket writer when placing their bet.
But with different listings for full game and first half bets, many a tourist has experienced the exact same scenario described above. Other cases involving erroneous tickets can involve backing the wrong team, or taking an over/under bet when you’re really trying to bet on the outcome.
From there, take a second or two to scan the ticket and check for mistakes. Even when a ticket is already printed up, you still have a short window to address any errors. If they pressed the wrong button, or misheard your request, any competent ticket writer will be happy to void the bet and replace your slip with a corrected version.
That window is short though, so don’t expect to come back after the game is already underway to change your wager. Once you walk away from the window, most Las Vegas sportsbooks will consider the wager to be action whether the ticket is correct or not.
6 – Sportsbooks Reserve the Right to Ban “Sharp” Money
Most sportsbooks in Las Vegas are happy to accept action on every conceivable wager. That’s because the “vig” they charge, combined with precisely set lines that split the betting evenly on both sides, ensures they’ll make out with a profit on most games.
But when a bettor proves themselves to be particular adept at punishing the book, bet shops have no problem refusing their action altogether. So-called “sharps” or “wise guys,” terms used to describe professional sports handicappers, are increasingly finding their action refused by major operators.
You can read up on the touchy subject here in this fascinating profile on banned bettors published last year by ABC News.
Fortunately, it takes major money movement against the house to even broach the possibility of limited betting or outright bans, so 99% of the public will never have to worry about this one.
Sports betting in Las Vegas is a time-honored tradition dating back 70 years and counting. Every year, millions of sports fans make the sojourn to Sin City specifically to bet on their favorite football team to win the Super Bowl, or a beloved baseball team to top its season-long win over/under total.
Most of these visitors are betting purely for the sake of entertainment, so they don’t really think about things from a local’s perspective. But doing so is the best way to avoid unforced errors. Hopefully, the guide found here leaves you better prepared to tackle the Las Vegas sportsbook scene like a real local down the road.