NCAA Basketball Tournament, AKA March Madness, is one of the busiest sports weekends in Las Vegas. This year the tournament begins Tuesday, March 19 but the Madness doesn’t begin until Thursday, March 21. The first weekend of March Madness is spread over four days making it the second busiest event for the sportsbooks in Las Vegas behind the Super Bowl. This chaos complicates things for people that want to wager on the games and even for people that just want to watch the games.
There are 16 games on each of the first two days with another 8 games on the first Saturday and Sunday of March Madness. Sportsbooks will be overflowing with people before the first game tips off on March 21 around 9am pacific time. Besides betting on the games sportsbooks are a great place because they’re open to whomever wants to just sit and watch the games. During March Madness those seats are at a minimum. If you want to watch the games on the big screens of the sportsbook make sure you arrive early because those seats are first come whether you bet on the game or not. There are tales of some people paying the homeless to sleep in the sportsbook overnight to ensure that they seats.
Pro-Tip: Stay where you’d like to watch the games and check in to your hotel Wednesday night to get an early start.
If waking up early and hustling for a seat isn’t your style then you may opt for a March Madness party at one of the bars or even one of the casino ballrooms. One of the great things about Las Vegas is that if there is demand for something then businesses will find a way to help fill the void. Demand to watch March Madness games has grown to the point where just about any bar, and many restaurants, will bring in TV’s and throw a party. You will have to pay for your seat at one of these parties but you’ll have a place to relax and enjoy the games. Many of the parties will include drinks and/or food in the price. Vegas Chatter has a list of March Madness parties that gets updated as information is released.
Pro Tip: If you’re a big gambler call your casino host and see if they have any parties. These are usually free for high rollers.
Many sports lovers that visit Las Vegas know that Lagasse’s Stadium is not just a sports bar and restaurant but it’s also a sportsbook run by Cantor Gaming. For no charge, besides what you drink, you can stand and watch the games at the small bar area which holds probably under 100 people. If you’d like to guarantee a seat to watch the games you’ll have to pay a minimum per session of games. Minimums will probably range from $100 for a cocktail table to a couple hundred dollars for stadium seating to thousands of dollars for a VIP skybox. The minimum is just a guarantee that you’ll spend a certain amount of money on food and drink so don’t pre-game.
Pro Tip: Every session will sell out in advance so make reservations ASAP.
Marc Meltzer covers Las Vegas, gaming and men’s lifestyle for various outlets. Check out his blog at Edge Vegas.