Cosmopolitan’s Sportsbook Is a Main Attraction after Moving Feet from Vegas Strip
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is a hotel associated with luxury. When it opened in 2010, the Cosmopolitan was the second-biggest casino in Las Vegas. It was associated with the Ritz-Carlton.
Over the adjoining 5+ years, the casino has gained a reputation as one of the finest high-dollar resorts in the world. Yet its gaming floor has lacked a certain energy.
When Brian Benowitz came over as SVP of the Cosmopolitan’s casino operations five months ago, he felt the main gaming floor was missing a certain energy. Benowitz had spent 24 years working at the Mirage, so he was used to a different Las Vegas gaming experience. In his considerate opinion, he felt something was missing.
Benowitz decided to move the Cosmopolitan’s sports book to the 1st floor, replacing a bank of slot machines. Sportsbooks do not have anything like the hold that slot machines do, so in a micro-economic way, the decision likely cost the Cosmopolitan money. Despite the flashing lights and big jackpots, slot machines are also pedestrian in terms of the excitement they give a gaming floor.
New Location Changed the Ambiance
The casino operations manager said, “It’s been a great addition, something sorely needed for our casino. When I got here, I felt the energy was lacking.”
Moving the sportsbook to the first floor, just feet away from the Las Vegas Strip, has changed the energy on the Cosmopolitan’s gaming floor.
When people enter the casino now, they hear reactions from the sports gamblers inside, who have money riding on the outcome of the day’s football, basketball, or baseball games. In a day when most casinos are dominated by slots row, the sportsbook represents the life of the party.
Brian Benowitz says the casino’s management feels the same way about the changes as the customers. He said, “We love that it’s steps off the Strip.”
Dead Bank of Slots
He added that people walking by have seen the excitement and came in to see what the action was about. The sportsbook’s ambiance helps with local word-of-mouth and Yelp reviews alike.
While it’s hard to quantify how much of a financial impact the changes have had, the changes have driven customers to the Cosmopolitan, while creating an overall more positive gaming experience for visitors. And the revenues from the 100 slot machines were not lost; those machines were fitted into the second floor, while the sportsbook now has 21 video poker machines which Benowitz believes does almost as well.
Benowitz said the gaming machines have done well, and what they replaced had been disappointed. He said, “We couldn’t draw up a lot of energy. We couldn’t draw up a lot of play in there [on the second floor]. It was an underperforming area for us. We feel the 23 (video poker) games at the bar will do better than the 100-plus slot machines that we had over there.”
Near the Big Red Shoe
The Cosmopolitan Sports Book is located near the Chandelier Room, as well as the iconic Big Red Shoe. Early word is the changes have made the sportsbook one of the best in Las Vegas, where it was an also-ran before Benowitz’s changes.
The sports betting room is not the size of the massive Westgate SuperBook, but it has many of the amenities the Westgate has. For instance, the LED video walls are every bit the equal of the SuperBook, which is considered the biggest and best sportsbook in Las Vegas.
Brian Benowitz Discusses the Strategy
The new look has gotten rave reviews from Las Vegas area publications, as well as gamblers who flock to the new-look sports and racing venue. Benowitz said, “It really didn’t create any energy or really any kind of excitement for us. Our guests would come in, (place their bets) and pretty much leave because there really was no reason to hang out there.”
“We’ve given this environment where we had really a dead slot area tremendous excitement.”
The Las Vegas Strip is the most competitive gaming enclave in the world (Macau has fewer options). A casino has to do something to stand out from the competition. That is a reason each of the Strip casinos have their own gaudy attractions and expensive shows.
Every little decision matters. Casinos change around the placement of gaming tables and gaming machines all the time. Some rearrangements work and others do not. In the case, the Cosmopolitan Sportsbook, it appears that the casino hit on the right combination — for now. That does not mean Brian Benowitz and the casino’s executives have stopped the redecorating. No Vegas casino does that.
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