Las Vegas goes all out for March Madness. Basketball fans will find viewing parties on the Strip and downtown — and they’ll be able to bet on their favorite teams too.
The Final Four college basketball teams — South Carolina vs. Gonzaga and Oregon vs. North Carolina — play the semifinals in Phoenix on Saturday. Winners face off in a final game Monday to crown the 2017 NCAA champs.
Temperatures are predicted to be near 80 degrees on both game days, perfect for an open-air hoops party at Beer Park at Paris hotel-casino.
With dozens of screens, more than 100 beers and great views of the Bellagio fountains, the bar will be welcoming guests with food specials that include a Shock Top bratwurst with caramelized onions and sauerkraut. It’s also serving a special burger topped with Goose Island beer-candied bacon, cheddar cheese, BBQ sauce, onion rings and jalapeño slaw.
Food and beverage packages are available starting at $125 per person. Info: Beer Park, (702) 444-4500
There will be plenty of action on and off the court in downtown Vegas. Through Monday, the Fremont Street Experience is transformed into “Downtown Hoopstown,” with basketball-themed presentations on the 1,500-foot-long video screen canopy that covers the pedestrian mall.
For $1 a throw, fans can demonstrate their skills in the High Hoops Zone, where shootouts will feature 20-, 25- and 30-foot hoops.
Just off Fremont Street, the D Hotel will offer private “man caves” for viewing the games. Rooms come with multiple TVs, arcade games, beer pong tables and a dedicated cocktail waitress. Packages cost $130 to $230 per person. Info: The D Hotel, (702) 388-2200.
The hotel’s owner has already lost a big chunk of change on his bet that the University of Michigan would win the championship. On March 19, Derek Stevens wagered $12,500 on his alma mater, a wager that would have paid $1 million. But the Wolverines were defeated by the Oregon Ducks 69-68 on March 23.
Now about those bets. How much does Vegas stand to gain?
Americans will wager more than $10 billion on March Madness, 13% over last year, according to the American Gaming Assn.
“Of the $10.4 billion that will be wagered on the tournament in 2017, only about $295 million – or 3% – will be wagered legally through Nevada sports books,” an organization statement says.
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