Hello friends, and welcome to This Week in Gambling. J.Todd here, coming to you from the streets of Las Vegas, which in just about a month are going to be transformed for the big F1 race… the Las Vegas Grand Prix. And this city has been turned on its head trying to get ready for this race. I am standing on the corner of Sands Avenue and the Strip right here, and this is where the cars are going to come around the corner after all the weaving and bobbing and stuff. And they’re going to hit the Strip and head down toward MGM Grand it speeds close to 200 miles an hour.
Preparations have Vegas residents and tourists frustrated as the Las Vegas Grand Prix closes in, scheduled for November 16th through the 18th. Over 300,000 people are expected to attend, and in this video we’ll tell you where you can watch the race, and what factors could impact the event, including road closures and a Citywide strike! First, practice runs for drivers begin Thursday the 16th, with qualifiers running late Friday. The actual race is Saturday, November 18th, at 1 p.m. and goes for 50 laps or 2 hours, which ever is shorter.
The course itself begins on Koval and runs toward the Sphere, then down Sands Avenue turning onto the Strip, where the cars will run past resorts at speeds up to 200 miles per hour before turning on to Harmon to head back to Koval. The repaving of roads has been going on for months, new race facilities have been built, and just recently lighting has started to go up all along the race course. Grand stands are being constructed at a feverous pace. Safety barriers are being placed on Koval, Sands and Harmon, with the last barriers on the Strip and at the Sphere being placed just before the race begins.
Traffic is already horrible, but during the race there will be 5 p.m. road closures, making it damn near impossible to get around. The Strip will be closed between Aria and the Wynn, and additional road closures include both Harmon and Sands Avenue, as well as the west side of Flamingo. However, there will be vehicular bridges built on Flamingo over Koval, and a few side roads to allow cars access to the area inside of the race course.
Ticket prices start at just $500 for general admission, but can go much much higher… with some packages running $40,000 or more. So if you don’t want to shell out thousands of dollars to see the race in person, your best option may be television coverage. ESPN will show the race, as well as the practice runs and qualifiers. However, if you really want to be there, a word of warning: You may run right into the middle of a labor dispute. Last week we told you about the looming Las Vegas strike of more than 50,000 culinary workers… and now picket lines are popping up all along the Strip. And suspicion is that if their demands are not met, these workers will walk off the job right before the Grand Prix race begins, throwing the City into complete chaos!
As you can see from all the traffic, Formula 1 is placing a great burden on Las Vegas and its citizens. Some residents, in fact, wonder how the city can afford to improve all the roads for the Grand Prix but not for the general public. That’s a legitimate question. And Las Vegas visitors are stuck in their cabs and ride shares just like everyone else, so if you’re planning on heading to Las Vegas for the Grand Prix, please do! F1 is exciting, and I’m sure you’re going to have a great time. Just realize the city might be gridlocked with all the construction and all the roadblocks. I mean, traffic wasn’t great all these years we’ve been coming… and for the next couple of weeks during the F1 race, it’s going to be pure hell. You’ve been warned.