Flamingo Revamps Sportsbook, With a Twist

Flamingo is overhauling its sportsbook, but not in the way you might suspect.

The sportsbook, adjacent to Carlos’n Charlie’s restaurant, is removing its seating. We assumed that meant a renovation or more seats or immersive seats, or possibly the addition of other sports-related accoutrement, but nope.

Here’s how the sportsbook looked during its transition on March 4, 2024.

The “books” in “sportsbooks” used to refer to actual notebooks used to keep track of bets. The people who take bets are still called “bookies.”

According to staff, while the sportsbook will technically remain in the same spot, all the seating is out, to be replaced by slot machines.

We mentioned to a sportsbook writer at the counter we were a little surprised by that decision. The staffer replied, “We are, too.”

So, the question is: Is a sportsbook a sportsbook if you can’t watch sports there? The answer is yes. It was a rhetorical question. We’re just padding our story so it looks like we exerted some effort.

An example of a sportsbook without seating is the one at Horseshoe, formerly Bally’s. Bally’s had a massive sportsbook, but it was replaced with an arcade called, wait for it, The Arcade.

Not too long ago, another Strip casino, Linq (also owned by Caesars Entertainment) tossed its massive sportsbook, The Book, filling the space with (wait for it) slot machines.

The Horseshoe sportsbook looks like it was in the pool, if you get our drift.

Why would a casino replace a sportsbook with slot machines or an arcade?

The answer is counter-intuitive, but sportsbooks don’t contribute much to a casino’s bottom line. In fact, just about anything other than sportsbooks generates more revenue than sportsbooks.

Here’s a photo of the Flamingo sportsbook as slot machines are being moved into the space  on March 6, 2024.

For the record, that says “race,” not “rage.” Although, some employees might prefer the latter.

So, if sportsbooks don’t bring in a lot of money for casinos, why don’t more get rid of them?

Sportsbooks are an amenity, like spas and fitness centers and sex workers.

The idea is some sportsbooks bring in ancillary revenue, such as sports gamblers dining or drinking at the casino.

The strategy of one department (say, Food and Beverage) subsidizing others (like sportsbooks or showrooms) no longer flies at most casinos now. Every aspect of the resort must pull its own weight. Buffets lost money (about $3 million a year, each, at Caesars Entertainment locations in Las Vegas), so many were closed under cover of the pandemic. It’s all about margins now.

Replacing chairs for people to watch sports with slot machines is a smart business decision, and we aren’t just saying that because we are a big fan of any move in a direction other than more sports. Las Vegas has hit its saturation point with sports. Enough is enough. Sports are basically just an excuse for dudes to hug. It’s 2024, guys, just hug. Or kiss. Whatever you want. You don’t need sports as social lubrication anymore!

Don’t freak out sports fans. There are still plenty of sportsbooks, or “Male Bonding Facilitation Caves,” in Las Vegas.

The sportsbooks at Westgate and Circa (billed as the largest in Las Vegas) are the big players in town, but you can watch sports pretty much anywhere given the fact no new venue can open without TVs. It’s the law.

Although, the removal of the video wall in the Flamingo sportsbook may be the first recorded case of a decrease in screens in Las Vegas.

The day the high-fiving died.

“No sports unless they involve Taylor Swift” is our motto. Or cheerleaders. Cheerleading should be its own sport. (We know they compete or whatever, don’t step on our joke.) If that ever happens, we will want that video wall back. Heads up, Caesars Entertainment.

Yes, we wrote yet another sports-related story. Two in a row, actually. If it weren’t for seething resentment, we would have nothing to do on the days when we aren’t in a casino.