Updated June 29, 2022 - 7:56 pm
Jonathan Ogden stayed far away from sports betting during his Pro Football Hall of Fame career with the Baltimore Ravens.
That was then. Now retired and living in Las Vegas, Ogden said he loves to spend time in sportsbooks.
“Sports betting and football are like peanut butter and jelly to me. They really are,” he said. “People love to bet on the game, put a few bucks down, and they enjoy the game a little more.”
Ogden placed the first bet Wednesday at the newly renovated and reopened Caesars Sportsbook at Harrah’s. The former All-Pro offensive lineman stayed close to his roots, betting $50 on the Ravens to win the Super Bowl at 20-1 odds. The potential $1,000 payout would go to charity, a Caesars spokesman said.
The Harrah’s sportsbook has undergone a complete renovation — 760 square feet of LED TV walls, with new odds boards, seating, carpet and bar space. Patrons can also order food from their seats using the Caesars Eats app.
David Grolman, senior vice president of retail operations for Caesars Sportsbook, oversees the look of 180 books around the U.S., including the one just completed at Chase Field, home of the MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix. He’s working on a similar book inside the arena of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers and a renovation of the sportsbook at Paris Las Vegas.
Grolman said the new chairs and sofas at Harrah’s were placed with a social purpose.
“We started to envision building these things more like you’re sitting in your home or a restaurant or a nice club or a bar where you can interact with your friends,” he said.
Dan Walsh, senior vice president and general manager of Harrah’s, said Caesars has invested more than $200 million in renovating Harrah’s over the past few years, including all the hotel rooms and public spaces.
“This whole place has been renovated, and then we had a sportsbook that was a little outdated,” he said.
The renovation took about six weeks and leaves the book ready for football season in the fall, Walsh said.
The Ravens failed to make the playoffs last season, but Ogden said he thinks he has a chance to cash his ticket.
“If they can stay healthy, we got a shot,” he said.
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