Tourists flocking to Las Vegas this weekend to wager on their favorite football teams will notice something unique among the street performers, nightclubs, casinos and souvenir shops along the Strip.
The Riviera Hotel and Casino’s new sports book features an outdoor walk-up betting window — a first for Las Vegas Boulevard. Lucky’s, which operates the book, held a grand opening party on Thursday to coincide with the start of the National Football League season.
Whether you placed your bet on the Strip or at a window inside, Green Bay was a 4.5-point favorite at kickoff over the New Orleans Saints.
Green Bay was also listed at 6-1 to repeat as Super Bowl champions. At 5-1, Lucky’s made the New England Patriots favorites to win Super Bowl XLVI.
Lucky’s President and CEO Joe Asher said the walk-up window lets gamblers view betting lines for NFL and NCAA football games before making a pick.
“The walk-up window has generated a lot of buzz,” Asher said. “We think it’s really going to be successful for us.”
Lucky’s already operates sports books at Terrible’s on Flamingo Road, the Plaza Hotel and Casino and Fitzgeralds Casino & Hotel in downtown Las Vegas. Asher said the company wanted to make an impression with its first sports book on the Strip.
“The new book is in a great location, the heart of the property, and we look forward to contributing to the excitement of the casino floor,” he said. “(Riviera President and CEO) Andy Choy came up with the idea of installing a betting window.”
Lucky’s made a favorable impression on Irv Culpepper of Las Vegas, who wagered $50 on the over (48.5 points) on Thursday’s Saints-Packers game.
“Some fans are still turned off by the lockout, but most fans can wait for the start of football season,” Culpepper said.
The window is near the actual sports book, which features high-definition televisions, individual carrels for horse players, and other amenities. For locals, the Riviera has designated short-term parking accessible from Las Vegas Boulevard.
It was inevitable that former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman would turn out for the opening. Sin City’s official ambassador was greeted with his usual Bombay gin martini, betting slips and a ribbon to cut.
Goodman’s betting slip for Week One of the NFL season included the Atlanta Falcons over the Chicago Bears, the St. Louis Rams to beat the Philadelphia Eagles, the Saints over the Packers, the Dallas Cowboys over the New York Jets, and the Patriots to win Monday night against the Miami Dolphins.
He also placed a $100 bet for charity on the Saints to beat the Packers. The $100 bill was actually a homemade coupon bearing the Riviera and Lucky’s logo, plus Goodman’s own photo.
“This has the likeness of one of the greatest mayors in the history of Las Vegas,” Goodman said.
Asher said Goodman has been lucky in the past. At the opening of a Lucky’s at Fitzgerald’s in December he picked a four-team parlay to win $1,200.
“We doubled it and the mayor donated his winnings to the Nevada Cancer Institute and the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute at the Cleveland Clinic,” Asher said.