March Madness is one of three major sporting events in Las Vegas; the other two are the kick-off of the football season and the Super Bowl.
Casinos in Nevada put on a big show for these events, all designed to get the people through the door.
Typically, many of the casinos open up their giant show rooms or theatres for massive March Madness parties where food and drink specials are aplenty. Often times, the casino will partner up with a beer distributor who will share some of the cost in order for the casino to gain on the floor. The casino gets the revenue from gambling, while the beer company gets thousands of people drinking their product hoping to create brand loyalty making it a win-win for both parties.
March Madness has become an institution of sorts in Las Vegas because it is such a short window with the first weekend being the draw. People fly in from all over the country to be at one of the many sports books watching and betting every game in a first and second round marathon which begins this year on March 18.
Many locals take off work just to be part of the excitement of the first two rounds, have a few cocktails, hang out with friends, and of course make their bets. Prior to the Thursday games, they also get to be involved in many of the contests around town that have a variety of formats to best suit these players.
Much like the Super Bowl, the sharp bettors’ action is kind of shuffled in the mix of all the massive regular small money action. Unlike the regular season where a poor line will be peppered among the 120 games on a Saturday, during March Madness, it is much less likely to be exposed because of the volume.
Despite the popularity of the tournament, it’s tough on everyone trying to figure out the best bet, especially when matching up teams from vastly different conferences after watching most exclusively playing conference games the last two months. How will the Colonial conference’s top team match up against the Big-12’s No. 6 team? The line may be off, but there is a huge range of uncertainties for each team that make it tough to choose, but they still do.
Some people say the tournament is their best chance at winning every year, which may be the case on a few days, but the tournament’s ups and downs with upsets abound always seem to favor the house. However, it sure is fun trying.
Here’s a look at a few good deals going on around Las Vegas that will make a trip worthwhile.
$10 entry fee
Buy 3, get 1 free
Format: Pick every game of the tournament. 1 point per win.
Prize: Guaranteed $6,000 - 1st $3,000; 2nd $1,500; 3rd $500
Bonus: $1,000 for the most winners on opening weekend
Same format as last season when contest debuted. They had around 500 entries giving the contest a $2,000 overlay. All entry fees returned as prize money if it exceeds the guaranteed amount. Deadline for signups is March 18 at 8am.
Madness Parlay card
$5 for each play
Buy as many as you wish
Format: Pick 15 out of 15 on Thursday or Friday’s games using the point spread and win $100,000. Card will on available for games on those days, just two days of action, so get on over to the Plaza, or your favorite Lucky’s book, and work out a scheme to cash in on a great promotion. It’s worth at least $100 trying 20 different combos to hit the large prize.
$25 entry fee
Format: Pick one game a day, but lose 3 and you’re out
Prize: 100% of all entry fees returned, no guaranteed money
Deadline for sign ups is March 17 at 5pm. Contest ends when one contestant is remaining, or if tied, whoever is left after the Championship game will split the prize.
Last Man Standing
$25 entry fee
Buy 4, get 1 free
Format: Pick one game a day, lose and you’re finished
Prize: 100% of all entry fees return with a guarantee of $25,000
This is the one that started it all during March Madness. The volume of entries to this terrific contest promoted all others to get their share of the pie and create their own contest to get traffic through their book as well. Last season there was over $43,000 in prize money, well over the guaranteed amount.
$10 for each entry
Buy as many as you wish
Format: Pick all 32 games on Thursday & Friday’s first round games; no points, just pick the winners. Pick all 32 correct and win $50,000. Should there be multiple winners, the prize will be divided evenly. There’s probably 10 easy winners and then it gets tough without the spread, but for $10, what the heck, it’s worth a gamble.
Grand Ball Room
Wagering windows with food and drink specials that include a free throw contest hosted by former collegiate greats Jerome Williams of Georgetown and Ed O’Bannon from UCLA. Doors open at 8am.
Betting Stations inside the Theatre, smoke free environment, giant HD screens with food a drink specials. Make a $20 wager and get a free t-shirt while supplies last.
All the games on screens across the entire room that include all your favorite pints of beers from across the world. Enjoy one of the best burgers in town while watching your teams in action.
Betting Stations available with the games shown in the tradition of their Super Bowl parties along with food and drink specials. Can accommodate over 300 people comfortably. It’s the perfect place to roll into after St. Patrick’s day amid an all-nighter at Brendan’s Pub inside the Orleans or McMullen’s across the street. Slainte!