Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015 | 2 a.m.
Many refer to veteran bookmaker Art Manteris as a visionary given his success in creating the standard layout of the sports book.
Manteris dreamed big when he helped design the Las Vegas Hilton sports book in 1986, which included then-monster screens. But the current vice president of race and sports operations at Station Casinos never foresaw something like the state of the art 18-foot video wall he oversaw getting installed last month at Red Rock Resort’s book.
“I could have never imagined something this bright, this flexible,” Manteris beamed from his office just below the screen. “It’s like we went from a single-engine propeller plane to a Learjet.”
Red Rock replaced the handful of projectors that had illuminated games and races at the casino since it opened in 2006 with hundreds of light-emitting diodes (LED) placed 2.5 millimeters apart from each other. It’s the best technology currently available, giving the space an ultra-high definition viewing experience stretching 18 feet high and 96 feet wide.
“We feel it puts us on a whole different level from a sports book standpoint,” said Jason McCormick, Red Rock race and sports director. “We’ve seen an uptick in sports play in recent years and wanted to continue to be recognized as the best race and sports book, the best place to watch a game.”
Sports books typically implement their renovations over the summer in order to have them ready for the football crowds. Bettors are getting treated to a pair of remarkable upgrades for the 2015 season.
Manteris’ old stomping grounds are also in the middle of makeover. The Westgate Las Vegas, formerly the Hilton, Superbook is still under construction but unveiled its own 2.5-millimeter LED wall in time for the first week of the NFL.
Superbook Executive Director Jay Kornegay said the response was overwhelming.
“It was hilarious because I would be talking to someone and they’d keep looking up at the screens,” he said. “It was like Christmas for them, and people were in such awe. I found it extremely satisfying to have that type of impact.”
At 240 feet long, the Superbook now has the largest indoor LED video wall in the world, according to Kornegay. The property hopes to finish work on a new betting counter, new bar and improved seating areas within five weeks.
The Westgate then plans to hold a grand opening event.
“Once we complete the renovations, I really believe it’s going to be one of those landmarks in Las Vegas,” Kornegay said. “We always had the largest book and felt like we put out a great product, but to have the amenities and venue to match is exciting.”
Manteris says he’s never lost his excitement for watching sports books evolve over nearly four decade in the industry. It’s easy to stay enthusiastic with features like the new video wall at his operations base.
“It’s the best product of its kind that I’ve ever seen,” Manteris said, “and I’ve been doing this a long time.”