Derek Stevens, Owner and CEO at Circa Casino, The D Las Vegas, and Golden Gate Las Vegas: Can I Speak to the Owner
Can I Speak to the Owner
Derek Stevens came to Las Vegas from Detroit in 2006, when he and his brother purchased the Golden Gate Hotel, the oldest operating casino in Las Vegas. He later bought The D (the former Fitzgerald’s) and created the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center. In 2020, he opened Circa Resort & Casino at the foot of Fremont Street, a new concept that relies heavily on sports betting and a premier pool experience.
This episode discusses the following topics:
- Background of the Stadium Swim concept of the Circa Casino, which is the rooftop pool that includes large screens to follow sporting events for sports betting and entertainment (7:00)
- Working titles for Stadium Swim and the architectural bids to develop the project (12:00)
- Derek’s background and visiting Las Vegas frequently to watch boxing matches (13:00)
- “I’m fortunate that I’ve always surrounded myself with great people. We try hard and try to create our own luck” (16:00)
- The process of buying the properties that became Circa and expanding the Golden Gate (17:00)
- Impacts of the pandemic on developing the Circa and being able to speed up construction during lockdown (22:00)
- Landon’s sports betting experiences at the Circa (23:00)
- Derek’s positioning as one of the only non-corporate casino owners (25:00)
- Meeting Steve Wynn during the development of Fremont Street (26:00)
- Discussing barriers of entry to development projects for individual owners, such as increasingly high costs (28:00)
- Early career in Las Vegas and buying his first casino as an outsider to the city (30:00)
- Development of outdoor bars as a significant feature at Derek’s casinos (33:00)
- Whether sports betting at the casinos has rebounded since the pandemic began (37:00)
- Derek’s brother Greg’s role in the casinos and differences in their personalities and skillsets (38:00)
- The origin story of buying the Golden Gate Casino (41:00)
- What’s next for Derek in the gaming industry (45:00)
- Gambling stories (47:00)
“I’m fortunate that I’ve always surrounded myself with great people. We try hard and try to create our own luck”— Derek Stevens
about The D
The D Las Vegas Hotel & Casino delivers a fresh, energetic attitude and fun atmosphere synonymous with Downtown Las Vegas. Their newly-renovated property mixes vintage Vegas with modern amenities and design, including a high-energy gaming experience and 629 remodeled contemporary rooms and suites.
About Golden Gate
Since 1906, The Golden Gate’s legacy has spanned the birth of Las Vegas. It is the oldest casino in the city and has survived many historical ups and downs, including Prohibition. Their modern rooms draw inspiration from its colorful past, and our prime location under the lights of the Fremont Street Experience delivers the energy of the future.
About Circa Casino
Circa Resort & Casino is a hotel and casino in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada, on the Fremont Street Experience. Circa has a two-story casino, a three-story sportsbook, 777 hotel rooms, five restaurants, and a six-tiered swimming pool.
About MaxBet Media
Two gambling enthusiasts, with a passion for all things gambling. Whether pressing our luck in the high limit room, testing the money line in the sportsbook, or just making friendly wagers on the back nine… we love to gamble! Our careers in the gaming industry have shown us that this industry is filled with some amazing people, with even more amazing stories. Our goal is to help provide a platform for those stories to be shared, while also helping everyone look good in the process.
About Landon Michael Jones
Manager and Co-Founder
Landon’s fascination with the casino industry began when he was just 12 years old and ultimately landed him in Las Vegas, where he earned a degree in hospitality management from University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV). For over a decade, Landon has been involved in various aspects of the gaming industry, including operations, management, and supply & distribution.
Landon’s tenacity and passion afforded him the opportunity to serve the gaming industry’s key players and regions throughout the United States. Landon enjoys collaborating with industry leaders to create the ultimate gaming experience for the end-user.
About Mike McKiski
Manager and Co-Founder
A seasoned gaming industry executive and expert in building, marketing, and monetizing gambling related technologies, Mike McKiski currently serves as President of MaxBet Media, Inc., the digital media upstart delivering an unfiltered, authentic, and at times irreverent look at the people who are driving the gambling industry forward.
As he was founding MaxBet Media, Inc., McKiski worked for PlayAGS, Inc. (NYSE: AGS) serving as the company’s Vice President of Sales, with revenue responsibility for the Western United States and all of Canada. Under McKiski’s leadership the revenue team doubled in size and grew revenues over 300%. He is a market transformation catalyst who has been at the forefront of launching mobile and social marketing products for hundreds of casino operators across the continent.
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