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Opening nears for Reno-Sparks’ first new casino in 26 years

Legends Bay Casino
AP Photo/Scott Sonner
A rendering of the Legends Bay Casino is displayed on a fence, Friday, May 13, 202, in Sparks, Nev., around the construction site where the first new casino in the Reno-Sparks area in a quarter-century is scheduled to open this summer at The Outlets at Legends shopping center along I-80 next to the Sparks Marina.

The operator of the world’s largest sportsbook in Las Vegas is expanding into northern Nevada this year as part of a collaboration with what will be the first new casino built in Reno-Sparks in more than a quarter century.

Circa Sports secured a deal with Legends Bay Casino owner Olympia Gaming to operate a sportsbook at the property being constructed just east of Reno, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported.

In addition to the sportsbook, the 80,000-square-foot casino with have table games, slot machines, video poker and multiple restaurants. It’s scheduled to open sometime this summer at the Legends at Sparks Marina along Interstate 80.

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“We are thrilled to partner with Olympia Gaming to introduce our brand to a new part of the state,” said Derek Stevens, Circa Sports CEO. “We look forward to bringing an incredible sportsbook to the property.”

Circa Sports launched in 2019 at Stevens’ Golden Gate Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Since then, the company has expanded its footprint into five southern Nevada casinos while also providing mobile betting services in Colorado and Iowa. Its sportsbook at Stevens’ Circa Resort & Casino, which opened in 2020, is touted as the largest sportsbook in the world.

Stevens said the new partnership with Olympia in Sparks is the “icing on the cake.”

“Legends Bay is the first ground-up casino in the Reno-Sparks area to be built in 30-plus years,” Stevens told the Gazette Journal. “So we loved the opportunity to put our first Northern Nevada Circa Sports retail location in this ... property.”

Legends Bay Casino marks the culmination of a journey that started in 2007 for Olympia. Originally envisioned as a hotel-casino, the project experienced several starts and stops thanks to unexpected economic headwinds.

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The first was the Great Recession in 2008, which hit Reno-Sparks’ real estate and construction industry particularly hard. Then came the COVID-19 pandemic, which triggered a lockdown across the entire state of Nevada.

Following the 2008 recession, the hotel-casino concept was ditched in favor of a phased approach. The first phase involved the construction of two hotels, a 102-room Hampton Inn & Suites as well as a 104-room Residence Inn by Marriott. Both projects broke ground in 2017 and have since opened.

The next phase is the Legends Bay Casino itself, which broke ground in 2021.

“We initially started the planning in 2007, so watching the designs and concepts transform, evolve and go from paper to reality is a great accomplishment for the entire team involved with the project,” said DeCourcy Graham, Olympia Gaming’s chief operating officer.

RED Development, which developed The Outlets at Legends, expects to see a boost in business at the movie theater, shops and restaurants in the outdoor mall, said Scott Rehorn, its managing partner for leasing.

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“Shopping centers with casinos see an immediate and ongoing increase in sales, tenant retention and tourism traffic,” he said.

CEO Garry Goett, who also serves as chairman of Olympia Companies, believes the addition of Circa will make Legends Bay Casino a premier sports betting destination in northern Nevada.

“This gives us a one-of-a-kind sports wagering offering,” Goett said.