Circa Sports to enter Illinois market with American Place sportsbook

Matt Metcalf, Circa Sports sportsbook director, center, and ticket writer Amy Rafferty visit wi ...

Circa Sports, the sports-wagering arm of Derek Stevens’ downtown Las Vegas sportsbook operations, will enter its fourth state later this year.

Stevens, founder and CEO of Circa Sports, and representatives of Full House Resorts on Monday announced plans for Circa to open a retail sportsbook at the planned American Place resort in Waukegan, Illinois, and to offer online wagering through apps within the state of Illinois.

Under terms of the agreement, Full House is paying a $5 million access fee that will be amortized over the initial eight-year contract with Circa, starting when the sportsbook goes live.

’Fired up’

The agreement signed by the two companies puts Circa in the American Place for eight years with two four-year options at the discretion of Circa. It’s a revenue sharing agreement with Full House assured of a minimum $5 million annually.

“For anyone who has seen that beautiful three-story sportsbook at Circa in downtown Las Vegas, I’m looking forward to having the best sportsbook in the Midwest,” said Dan Lee, CEO of Full House Resorts in the company’s first-quarter earnings call with investors on Monday.

“Our goal is for people to walk into our sportsbook and say, ‘Wow,’” he said.

“We are really fired up to begin operations in Illinois,” Stevens said in an interview Monday. “The population base in suburban Chicago will provide a great market for us in northern Illinois and in Wisconsin.”

Circa already operates in Nevada, Iowa and Colorado, and the American Place site will be Circa’s first retail outlet outside of Nevada.

Full House has permission from the state of Illinois to open a temporary casino at the American Place site, and Stevens said a sportsbook would be located there at the appropriately named The Temporary by American Place.

The Temporary will include a dedicated wagering area with betting kiosks, physical ticket windows and digital boards with real-time odds. Bettors will be able to watch games on 36 televisions, ranging from 60-inch to 80-inch screens.

It is scheduled to open in the fall with the permanent casino opening within the next three years. The Temporary is being built on the American Place site and will be dismantled and turned into a parking facility when the permanent casino opens.

“We promised Illinois a premium gaming and entertainment facility, and that includes a first-class sports book experience,” Alex Stolyar, chief development officer of Full House Resorts, said in a release. “We witnessed how Derek and his team have revolutionized the sports betting and viewing experience at Circa, and knew that they would be the right partner for American Place.”

In an interview, Stolyar said the deal with Circa should benefit both companies in their expansion efforts.

Circa strides

Circa Sports has grown considerably since its 2019 launch.

Debuting at Stevens’ Golden Gate hotel in downtown Las Vegas, the brand is available to bettors in five locations across Southern Nevada, including a flagship location at what Stevens says is the world’s largest sportsbook at Circa Resort & Casino.

Circa also has retail outlets at The D in downtown Las Vegas, the Tuscany on Flamingo Road and The Pass in Henderson. Last month it announced plans for a location at the Legends Bay Casino in Sparks.

The company provides mobile betting in Nevada, Colorado and Iowa.

American Place is currently being developed as a premium gaming and entertainment destination within Waukegan’s Fountain Square district. The permanent casino facility will include 1,600 slot machines, 100 table games, a 20-villa hotel, a 1,500-seat live entertainment venue, and a wide variety of bars and restaurants. The 20 villas are being built in the initial construction with a 150-room hotel planned in the future.

Full House owns, leases, develops and operates gaming facilities throughout the country. The company’s properties include Silver Slipper Casino and Hotel in Hancock County, Mississippi; Bronco Billy’s Casino and Hotel in Cripple Creek, Colorado; Rising Star Casino Resort in Rising Sun, Indiana; Stockman’s Casino in Fallon; and Grand Lodge Casino, located within the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino in Incline Village.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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