For strip sports books check out my other post: Strip Sports Books for Football

Downtown sports books don’t really compare to the ones on the strip. First off none of them have reserved seating on game days during football season. So no food and beverage minimums are needed to secure a seat. That’s one positive. On the other hand, most of the downtown sports books are pretty pathetic. Small TVs, limited seating, and a crowd that can best be described as questionable.

Anyways it’s not all bad though, and if you find yourself downtown you can use this guide to find a decent place to watch a day of football games. I will give grades for each location base on price, grittiness/upscale, atmosphere, food&drink, TVs, drink tickets, seating and overall experience. Some categories may not apply.

Information is up to date for NFL week 1 2018.

Location:         Overall Grade     Price/Person

Golden Nugget:             B-                   $0

The Cal:                           B-                    $0

Binions:                           B-                    $0

Events Center:              C+                   $0-500

Downtown Grand:       C                      $0-50

The Plaza:                       C                      $0

Fremont:                         C-                     $0

El Cortez:                        C-                     $0-50

The D:                               D+                    $0

Four Queens:                  F                      $0

Downtown Events Center

Overall: C+

  • Price: $$$
  • Upscale: n/a
  • Atmosphere: Potentially Fun
  • F&B: C
  • TVs: B-
  • Drink Tix: n/a
  • Seating: C-

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The Downtown Events Center turns into a game day watch zone party every Sunday. It’s definitely the most unique place to watch a day of NFL games in all of Vegas. It’s only open for NFL Sundays, not College Football on Saturdays. It was started by Derek Stevens, owner of some of the downtown casinos.

I went there around noon in the middle of the early games and as you can see in the pictures, there wasn’t many people there. Frankly it was way too hot in early September to be sitting outside for too long.

They had a tent in the back setup and some people were at the tables back there, but it still wasn’t very comfortable in 100 degree weather. Plus the screens are so far away that the only game you can see is the one on the big screen. At the exposed tables upfront you could see much better.

Online it says all the tables have to be reserved with a $25 per person beverage minimum, but it seemed like people were using the tables as they pleased. Coney Island hot dogs and Project BBQ from Fremont Street had stands, but those were the only two food options.

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To the right of the screens was the actually interesting option for spending the day here. You can reserve a “man cave” for up to 20 people for a $500 beverage minimum. Each cave has a 70′ TV, a beer pong table, corn hole bags, 2 couches and access to the swimming pool.

More info can be found here: https://dlvec.com/downtown-watch-zone/

The pool was all dudes so don’t expect Encore Beach Club. But the atmosphere was chill and it was kind of a cool concept overall. I think once the temps get more reasonable later in the season the DLVEC will get more popular and fun. For now you’re probably better off inside somewhere.

Binions

Overall: B-

  • Price: Free
  • Upscale: Tier 3
  • Atmosphere: Relaxed
  • F&B: B-
  • TVs: C+
  • Drink Tix: $200 sports
  • Seating: B-

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Binion’s sports book like many others downtown, is run by William Hill. The setup is small but has some nice couches and a few hi top tables. If you can snag a couch then it wouldn’t be a bad place to watch. The TVs are nothing special but since it’s such a small space you can see everything pretty easily.

The sports book is located right outside Benny’s Smokin’ BBQ & Brews. They have drink and foot specials for both Saturday and Sundays during football season. The prices are very reasonable and ribs are quite solid. Chicken and brisket not as much. Benny’s also has a bunch of TVs inside showing games.

Golden Nugget

Overall: B-

  • Price: Free
  • Upscale: Tier 3
  • Atmosphere: Fun
  • F&B: B-
  • TVs: B
  • Drink Tix: None!!
  • Seating: B-

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The Golden Nugget is the most legit sports book in downtown. There’s a lot of TVs and a good amount of seats. The problem is everyone knows this, the room is relatively small, and they pack in a lot of seats so you tend to feel squished in. All the seats are on a first come basis, and I would recommend arriving early if you want to secure some chairs or a booth for your group.

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There is two rows of big leather chairs on either side of the room. The front row is quite close to the wall of TVs so you can only watch the ones that are right in front of you. Between they have some tables with chairs, and along the side there are some booths. If you can get a seat anywhere in the room you should be able to watch almost any game, though maybe not at the best angle or biggest screen.

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One downside of the Golden Nugget sports book is that there are no drink tickets for betting sports! Even at $500+ bets you don’t get anything. Pretty lame. For food there’s a grill next to the sportsbook with some standards options. Grotto restaurant by the pool area is pretty good, not sure if they do take out. To go tacos are also available next to Cadillac Mexican Kitchen.

If there’s no seats at the sportsbook, which is quite likely, you can walk over to the Rush Lounge to catch some games. It will be tough to follow more than one game with the way it’s setup, but there was some empty spots even in the middle of the day. Drink specials also available.

The Plaza

Overall: C

  • Price: Free
  • Upscale: Tier 4
  • Atmosphere: Degenerate
  • F&B: C-
  • TVs: C+
  • Drink Tix: $200 sports
  • Seating: D+

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The Plaza sports book takes the prize for most degenerate space in all of Las Vegas. It’s actually quite big, but the clientele are one of a kind. The sports book operated by William Hill, so the same $200 drink ticket policy is in place.

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A lot of unorganized tables and chairs make up the room. No big leather seats at all. Some horse racing desks but they face away from the sports TVs. A video poker bar is available as well. Food is available from Pop Up pizza or the food court. Overall The Plaza is an interesting place to hang out. If you like watching people constantly complaining because they have their last $5 on the game, it can actually be kind of fun. If you’re looking for comfort and class I would recommend going somewhere else though.

The California

Overall: B-

  • Price: $
  • Upscale: Tier 3
  • Atmosphere: Chill Fun
  • F&B: C-
  • TVs: B+
  • Drink Tix: None!!
  • Seating: B-

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The California sports book was a pleasant surprise. Though it’s not as large as anything on the strip, the setup was quite nice. There are a lot of screens pointing in every direction, and though seating is limited, the chairs are very nice. I believe there is a two drink minimum for all the seats.

Since there are so few seats you probably need to get there early to lock one down. It was standing room only when I was there around 11am on Sunday. The video poker bar is another option for sitting and maybe snagging some free drinks since The Cal sports book gives no drink tickets for sports bets! Food options are no where near by, have to go upstairs to the cafe to grab something.

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While The Cal sports book was packed, the Holo Holo bar was totally empty. Could be an option if you don’t mind sitting in a stool.

Downtown Grand

Overall: C

  • Price: $
  • Upscale: Tier 3
  • Atmosphere: Quiet Degenerate
  • F&B: C-
  • TVs: B-
  • Drink Tix: $200 sports
  • Seating: C

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The Downtown Grand sports book is yet another William Hill run operation. It’s a small room with limited seating. 7 hi top tables with 2-3 chairs each and a row of 8 low chairs up front. There were signs stating that seating is for hotel guests or anyone who has wagered at least $50 on a game. At 9:45am before opening kick offs on Sunday there was a small line and all the seats were claimed already.

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There’s one big screen that is split into four different games plus 4 small screens to the right side. Views are better from the hi tops in the back but the seats up front are more comfortable. If your game is one of the main four you shouldn’t have a problem being able to see. Food is pretty much limited to Freedom Beat right behind the sports book. I’m 0/2 on meals there, but luckily Pizza Rock is a short walk away and delicious. Overall the Downtown Grand sports book is nothing special.

Fremont

Overall: C-

  • Price: Free
  • Upscale: Tier 3
  • Atmosphere: Quiet
  • F&B: D
  • TVs: D
  • Drink Tix: $40 sports, $12 horses
  • Seating: C

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The Fremont sports book feels like more of a place for horse bettors than sports. It’s an all desk setup and the TV screens are tiny. From the back rows of desks you could barely make out the action. It’s also very quiet. Food options are limited to Dunkin’ Donuts pretty much. Drink tickets might be the best downtown though at only $40.

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The Filament bar was also showing games in a quiet setting and had much better TVs than the Fremont sports book.

El Cortez

Overall: C-

  • Price: Free
  • Upscale: Tier 4
  • Atmosphere: Degenerate
  • F&B: C-
  • TVs: C-
  • Drink Tix: $50 sports, $25 horses
  • Seating: C-

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The El Cortez sports book is the definition of nothing special. Just some old chairs, some small screens and a handful of grumpy degenerates. It’s operated by Station Casinos and drink tickets are at a reasonable $50. There’s a sign saying seats are for El Cortez members above a certain status or you need to have $50 in bets. Not sure it was being enforced, I think it’s more to scare away some people.

It’s actually pretty easy to be able to watch all the games at once as there are 12 TVs and the area is small. Every seat was filled shortly after 10am kickoff on Sunday. Food options are Subway, Naked City Pizza or take out from Siegals 1941.

The D

Overall: D+

  • Price: Free
  • Upscale: Tier 4
  • Atmosphere: Quiet
  • F&B: C-
  • TVs: C-
  • Drink Tix: $200 sports
  • Seating: D+

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The D sports book is nothing special. It’s on the second floor and operated by William Hill. There are 8 TVs showing games, and about 15 seats total. No atmosphere and just a handful of people. Food options are Coney Island hot dogs or McDonalds. The D also has a ridiculous make your own bloody mary bar downstairs.

The Vue Bar is right next to the sports book and is a pretty standard video poker bar. The most exciting place to watch games at The D is The Long Bar downstairs. It’s tough to get a seat or be able to see more than 3 games, but at least there was some excitement.

Four Queens

Overall: F

  • Price: Free
  • Upscale: Tier 4
  • Atmosphere: Degenerate
  • F&B: D
  • TVs: F
  • Drink Tix: $200 sports
  • Seating: D-

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The Four Queens sports book can hardly even be considered a sports book. It has less than 10 seats and 4 of the smallest TVs you can buy. The sports book is operated by William Hill. There’s really nothing to say. You can come here to make your bets, but there’s no reason to stay.

If you want any more info on Las Vegas sports books I found   currentsportsbetting.com guides very helpful for more in depth descriptions of each sports book in town.

The strip definitely has much more of the excitement that most people are looking for in a sports book. But if you’re just looking to plop down somewhere quiet then downtown has some ok options. Check back for my guide to off strip sports books coming soon.

-Hax