Every professional sports league has treated gambling, and by extension Las Vegas, as a demon that might bring their sport down. Broadcasters never talked about things like point spreads or favorites, disregarding what was once a multi-billion dollar industry that just happened to be mostly illegal.
Every major sports league in the United States has done a complete 180 on the subject since the Supreme Court pushed the issue of legalizing sports betting to the states. Now, telecasts regularly address gambling topics, and the leagues have accepted the amount of money legalized gambling has offered.
The City of Las Vegas has been a significant beneficiary of this change. In addition to sports betting becoming more legal, legislation has changed; over half of states in the United States have legalized sports betting, and more are expected to do so soon.
The Golden Knights of the National Hockey League have remained in a prominent spot on the Las Vegas Strip, nestled among many Caesars Entertainment (CZR) and MGM Resorts International (MGM) properties. That was followed by the former Oakland Raiders moving to a new stadium just off the strip.
Las Vegas is the home of the NFL Draft, will host a Formula 1 race, and has become the hot spot for franchises in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Major League Baseball (MLB) considering moving.
And while no specific NBA team has targeted Sin City, the Oakland Athletics, an MLB franchise, have been in discussions with several sites on and adjacent to the Strip. Those discussions have seemed to lead to the team moving (even while Oakland continues to try to keep the organization) but where the A's will land has remained a mystery.
Now, a significant Las Vegas Strip property that is in desperate need of a fresh direction may have emerged as a potential destination.
Joaquin Gomez Sastre/NurPhoto via Getty Images as the image source
A Classic Las Vegas Property Gets a Makeover
Circus Circus was a key participant in the 1990s effort to make Las Vegas more family-friendly. It offered amusement park rides and circus performances to entice children, as well as casino games that draw adults to the city.
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Those efforts to make Las Vegas more like a theme park with gambling failed, and the rest of Las Vegas led by Caesars and MGM opted out of the family-friendly aspect. That has left Circus Circus a bit adrift. The casino still has the circus theme, but it's one that feels out of touch with modern Las Vegas.
Phil Ruffin, who also owns Treasure Island, has big plans to renovate his property. That includes a $30 million renovation that will take into account the concept of being an all-ages resort casino, as well as a complete overhaul of the resort's pool, giving the resort a "new resort" appearance.
Ruffin is now talking with the A's about constructing a stadium adjacent to Circus Circus, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal.
The Owner of Circus Circus Talks to A's
The A's have discussed building a 30,000-seat stadium, which is quite acceptable by Major League standards, as well as negotiating with Oakland.
Ruffin owns the 37-acre Las Vegas Festival Grounds adjacent to the Circus Circus. According to the paper, the casino owner is now going to Oakland to talk with the team about the location.
"As the team's market research progressed, President Dave Kaval noted the teams' interest in the festival grounds early in the search process in Las Vegas, but the focus moved away from that location as the team's market research progressed."
The Circus Circus property, located at the southwest corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara Ave., has reemerged as a viable contender. It would help that brand establish itself as a family-friendly alternative to the rest of the Strip.
The A's are apparently still considering several locations in Las Vegas, although they aren't completely closing the door on staying in Oakland.