Leroy's Horse & Sports Place

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Leroy's Horse & Sports Place also known as Leroy's Race and Sport Book or simply Leroy's is the largest operator of sports books in Nevada, with 77 race and sports books and kiosks. Based in Las Vegas, Leroy's is a subsidiary of American Wagering, which is owned by British bookmaker William Hill.


In addition to operating Leroy's, American Wagering manufactures and sells equipment and software to other sportsbook operators. Its products are used in a majority of sportsbooks in Nevada.[1]

The company also owns and operates Sturgeon's Inn & Casino in Lovelock, Nevada, which it bought in March 2006.[2]


Leroy's started as an independent betting parlor in a strip mall in Downtown Las Vegas,[3] founded by Leroy Merillat.[4] Vic Salerno, Merillat's son-in-law,[4] took over in 1978.[3]

Leroy's was placed under a holding company, American Wagering, Inc. (AWI), and made its initial public offering in May 1996.[5][6] The funds raised in the IPO were used to complete the purchase of a 150-room Howard Johnson's hotel and casino near the Las Vegas Strip, which the company planned to remodel as a sports-themed resort.[7]

In October 1996, AWI bought Autotote CBS, a subsidiary of Autotote Corp., for $3 million, and renamed it as Computerized Bookmaking Systems.[8][9] The company, which makes equipment and software for sportsbooks, was founded by Salerno.[8]

AWI agreed in April 1997 to buy Imagineering Systems, a maker of keno systems, for $3 million,[10] but canceled the deal in September 1997, deciding instead to build a progressive keno system in-house.[11] Imagineering sued AWI for breach of contract, and was eventually awarded $1.2 million.[12]

AWI launched an Australian subsidiary, Mega$ports, based in Canberra, in January 1999.[13] In March, it began accepting online wagers from bettors located anywhere except the United States.[13] Trouble arose, however, that December, with a Nevada Gaming Commission complaint alleging that an agent located in Las Vegas was able to place bets by going through a Canadian Internet provider.[14] AWI was ultimately forced to sell Mega$ports, or risk losing its Nevada gaming license.[15] An initial sale fell through in June 2001, when the buyer, Forward Publishing, failed to raise the agreed-upon A$1 million.[16] The sale was finally completed in July 2002, to Eurast Ltd. of Perth for $2.8 million.[15]

The Howard Johnson's hotel was sold in July 1999 for $4.3 million.[17]

Michael Racusin, a financial consultant who assisted with the IPO, filed a lawsuit claiming he was not paid his full fee.[18] After a court awarded him $1.3 million in July 2003, the company was forced to file for bankruptcy protection.[18] It emerged from protection in March 2005.[19]

In 2008 Leroy's began opening sports betting kiosks. These devices can only be installed in existing casinos and access is limited to previous established accounts in a manner similar to the existing telephone betting systems approved in Nevada.[20]

The company began releasing mobile betting applications for smartphones in 2010,[21] which proved popular.[22]

In June 2012, British bookmaker William Hill bought American Wagering for $18 million, along with Lucky's Race & Sports Book and the satellite sportsbook operations of Club Cal Neva.[22][23] Salerno was named chairman of William Hill U.S., overseeing 55 percent of the state's sportsbook locations, all of which will be rebranded under the William Hill name.[24]


Leroy's operates sportsbooks and kiosks at 77 locations,[22] including:[25]


  1. ^ Roberts, Micah. "Pro football's Patriots' minus three line worries Vegas books". Gaming Today. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  2. ^ "American Wagering Completes Acquisition" (Press release). American Wagering. 3 March 2006. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Stutz, Howard (24 April 2011). "Leroy's owner still ahead of game". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Form 10-K (Report). American Wagering. 18 May 2011. p. 62. 
  5. ^ "Sports book operator poised to exit bankruptcy". Las Vegas Sun. 16 September 2004. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  6. ^ Form 10-K (Report). American Wagering. 1 May 2000. p. 46. 
  7. ^ "American Wagering, Inc. announces completion of initial public offering" (Press release). American Wagering. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  8. ^ a b "American Wagering, Inc. announces acquisition of Nevada-based Autotote CBS Inc." (Press release). American Wagering. 30 October 1996. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  9. ^ Form 10-K (Report). American Wagering. 1 May 2000. p. 2. 
  10. ^ "American Wagering to buy keno company". Las Vegas Review-Journal. 14 April 1997. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  11. ^ "Change of Plans for American Wagering". Casino City Times. 4 September 1998. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  12. ^ "Nevada sports book operator files plan for reorganization". Las Vegas Sun. 24 February 2004. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  13. ^ a b Form 10-K (Report). American Wagering. 1 May 2000. p. 4. 
  14. ^ Brunker, Mike (24 December 2001). "U.S. firms in trouble over Net betting". MSNBC. Retrieved 1 April 2012. 
  15. ^ a b "Mega$ports dumps Aussie sportsbook". Gaming Today. 9 July 2002. Retrieved 1 April 2012. 
  16. ^ "American Wagering's future may ride with the courts". Gaming Today. 12 June 2001. Retrieved 1 April 2012. 
  17. ^ "American Wagering finishes LV hotel sale". Las Vegas Sun. 7 July 1999. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  18. ^ a b Berke, Jonathan (3 May 2004). "All bets off for American Wagering". The Daily Deal. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  19. ^ "American Wagering and Leroy's Emerge from Bankruptcy" (Press release). American Wagering. 14 March 2005. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  20. ^ Benston, Liz (2008-01-05). "Sports betting made easier, at bars and beyond". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2008-02-09. 
  21. ^ Sieroty, Chris (28 March 2012). "Leroy's sports betting app for iPad released". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  22. ^ a b c Sieroty, Chris (14 April 2011). "British bookmaker to buy two Nevada sports betting companies". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 
  23. ^ Green, Steve (28 June 2012). "William Hill, Affinity in long-term sports betting deal". Vegas Inc. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  24. ^ Velotta, Richard N. (21 June 2012). "British oddsmaker William Hill gets OK to operate 159 books in Nevada". Vegas Inc. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  25. ^ "All Leroy's Locations". Leroy's Sportsbook. Retrieved 31 March 2012. 

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