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March Madness Betting Hits Las Vegas

March 19th, 2009 · No Comments

March Madness Betting Hits Las Vegas

College Basketball is big business for the Las Vegas economy. Casinos expect nearly $100 million in bets to be made, not to mention what gamblers will spend on hotel rooms and food. Sports books will be packed with fans wagering on college basketball teams in the craze of March Madness betting.

Basketball fans across the country have been waiting for this all year. For Bernie Donaldson, the first week of March Madness means guys weekend, “This is our 11th year coming to Vegas.”

Bernie and his friend Steve Stewart are the first of 10 childhood friends to arrive in Las Vegas to place their bets. The Mirage is their sports book of choice.

“You get people from all over the country. You get people cheering for different teams so you have a game going on and you have some people that are dying because it’s not going well and other ones that are as happy as can be,” said Stewart.

Bernie and Steve are getting a jump on everyone else and placing their bets now. This is definitely the calm before the storm. Come Thursday, open seats won’t be available. It’ll be standing room only.

Just a couple of years ago, the Mirage’s sports book was packed with fans. MGM Mirage Sports Book Director Jay Rood says the betting possibilities are endless and include a few prop bets, “How many teams from the Big 10 will make the Sweet 16? How many from ACC? Same prop.”

But Rood says the economy may take its toll, “I kind of anticipate that to be a little bit off like everything else is off, but we are hopeful that our handle is good and if our occupancy is good, we should be happy with that.

For Bernie and Steve, the economy isn’t a good enough excuse to end their tradition.

“Everybody loves it. There are a few guys who don’t like basketball but they get sucked up into the vacuum of all of the enthusiasm,” said Donaldson.


Tags: Las Vegas Gambling · Las Vegas News · Las Vegas Sportsbooks

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