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Gary Trask

Gary  Trask
Gary serves as Casino City's managing editor and has worked as a writer and editor more than 20 years. The Boston native was a member of the Poker Hall of Fame's inaugural Media Committee and a current member of the Women in Poker Hall of Fame voting panel.

Contact Gary at gary@casinocity.com and follow him on Twitter at @CasinoCityGT.

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New futuristic sportsbook debuts at The LINQ in Las Vegas

12 Oct 2018

By Gary Trask
LAS VEGAS -- Stroll into the newest sportsbook in Las Vegas, and you may very well be entering the future of land-based sports betting.

The Book at The LINQ Hotel & Casino — former home of the Imperial Palace, now one of nine Caesars Entertainment properties in Las Vegas — celebrated its official grand opening on Thursday afternoon, complete with an appearance by NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Terrell Owens. By design, this is not your typical sportsbook with massive screens, personal seating with tiny monitors and a long row of ticket counters. Instead, The Book is more like a massive living room — or as Owens described it, “a man cave on steroids.”


Sprinkled across the more than 11,000 square feet of the property’s first floor, just steps off the Strip, are 87 TVs that can be split into more than 130 screens, including what Caesars claims is the Strip’s highest-resolution LED video wall. Comfy leather couches allow for seating for as many as 200 people. There are Xboxes, augmented reality games, special odds screens showing betting percentages from Caesars properties in Nevada, build-your-own Moscow mules, and a self-serve beer tap wall with 24 beers to choose from. Personal tablets allow you to place your next bet without getting up from your seat, change the channel on one of your personal TV monitors, or order a basket of wings from a Sticky Chicken food truck, which will be delivered by a server who had to pass a strict test to prove their sports knowledge so they can act as a true ambassador for The Book.

“This is what we think the gaming floor of the future is going to look like,” explained Matt Kenagy, Senior Director of Strategic Development and Enterprise Gaming for Caesars Entertainment. He gazed across The Book and watched T.O. pose for pictures and sign autographs just as the NFL Thursday Night Football game was kicking off. “What we’ve done is reinvent the old-school sportsbook model. We’ve incorporated what people love about arenas and stadiums and their favorite bars and even their own living room. We took all of those attributes and created what we feel is the race and sports experience of the future.”


The main draw of The Book are the 12 Fan Caves, which feature seating for up to 10 people and a 98-inch TV that can be split into four screens and offers audio zone control, all from a personal tablet. There are also a pair of 49-inch TVs, Xbox game consoles and virtual reality headsets. Prices vary, depending on the day and time of year, but for a frame of reference, the cost to rent a cave for this Sunday’s NFL action from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. would be $50 for 10 people, in addition to a $750 food and beverage minimum, not including tax and gratuity. Reservations can be made online.

“The feedback has been great,” Kenagy said of the caves. “We’ve found that sports fans want to control their environment, and this allows for that. The Xboxes have been very popular so far. Guys love queuing up a game of Madden during halftime of the game they are watching."

Plentiful seating is also available at the bar, which has video poker machines at each seat, as well as tables with high-top chairs that surround the Fan Caves.

The Book is the first stage of a 45,000-square-foot renovation of gaming space at The LINQ that Caesars thinks is helping it get ahead of the curve and lay the groundwork for other properties across the U.S. to create similar innovative footprints. The next phase of the gaming floor renovation is to fill the area surrounding The Book with even more interactive and immersive games.

“This is the incubator,” said Walt Foles, Caesars Senior Vice President of Strategic Development. “It’s the perfect space for it. It’s right on the Strip, the LINQ Promenade is right outside, and it typically draws a younger crowd. We’re going to watch and learn from this, listen to the feedback and try to make the experience better every day. But we wouldn’t be surprised if this is the kind of model that many of our other properties begin to share in the not-too-distant future.”
 
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