Circa Awaits Final Licensing Approval Before Opening in Downtown Las Vegas

Posted on: September 11, 2020, 12:04h. 

Last updated on: September 11, 2020, 01:42h.

After winning licensing recommendation from the Nevada Gaming Control Board this week, Circa Resort owner Derek Stevens is awaiting one more thumbs-up for his new downtown Las Vegas casino.

Derek Stevens
Casino owner Derek Stevens awaits final licensing approval for the new Circa Resort in downtown Las Vegas. The Nevada Gaming Commission is expected to vote on the matter Sept. 24. (Image: Las Vegas Review-Journal)

On Sept. 24, the Nevada Gaming Commission is scheduled to vote on final consideration for Circa, the first hotel-casino in 40 years to be built from the ground up in downtown’s Glitter Gulch. The Control Board recommendation was Sept. 9.

Circa is scheduled to begin operating in two phases, with the casino portion opening to the public beginning Oct. 28. By December, many of the hotel’s 777 rooms are scheduled to open.

Circa is being built on Fremont Street where the Las Vegas Club once stood. In addition to its hotel tower, Circa will include an outdoor amphitheater and six pools on three levels.

Stevens is co-owner of the D Las Vegas and the Golden Gate, both also on Fremont Street. He has not disclosed the cost to construct Circa, though ENR Southwest, an engineering and construction trade publication, reports it is a $1 billion project.

Sports Betting Expansion

Circa will include what is being billed at the world’s largest sportsbook, a three-story venue capable of handling “1,000 spectators watching games on a 78-million-pixel screen,” according to ENR Southwest.

In addition, the Vegas Stats and Information Network (VSiN) will broadcast from a studio inside Circa. The handicapping and sports analysis network, launched in 2017, will maintain its original studio at the South Point Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

Stevens also operates Circa Sports, with sportsbooks in his Fremont Street properties, the D Las Vegas, Golden Gate, and soon-to-open Circa. In addition, Stevens has entered into a partnership with the off-Strip Tuscany hotel-casino to rebrand its sportsbook under the Circa name.

Circa Sports, which offers online and mobile betting in Nevada, also has a sports wagering app for use in Colorado.

Historic Downtown

Circa is located at the western end of the Fremont Street Experience, a pedestrian mall covered with a canopy featuring light shows.

To attract visitors to this casino district, the city is constructing a $6.5-million archway on Las Vegas Boulevard just south of Fremont Street.

Construction on the 80-foot-tall archway is almost complete. However, electrical components are still being installed to light the arches. This work is expected to be finished by early November.

On social media sites, critics have taken aim at the city for spending millions on the archway during an economic downturn brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. The city notes that the arches are employing 80 workers during the construction phase. The archway also is part of a beautification project to include new landscaping and trees.

Downtown Las Vegas is home to some of the most historic casinos in the area. These include the El Cortez, briefly owned in the mid-1940s by Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel and other mobsters. The El Cortez is still in operation.