Prime Viewing for March Madness


The NCAA basketball tournament is here, which means so are the parties and deals offered up at casinos and bars all over town. Much like for the Super Bowl, many establishments will announce their events right up to the opening tipoff. To get the ball rolling, here’s a March Madness primer based on what’s been made public so far:

More casinos than I’ve seen in the past are offering viewing parties of some sort, but many are higher-end, at least in terms of price. SLS has a $50 party in Umami Burger that comes with a $10 bet. It’s all-you-can-drink for $65 at Monte Carlo’s Double Barrel Roadhouse and $75 at The Joint at the Hard Rock. And Caesars properties are offering several programs, ranging from $25 beer buckets at the Rio’s bars to a $2,760 food-and-drink package for eight ($345 per) at the Flamingo. I guess that’s all right, but you can do the entire first four days for well under $345 by sticking with the old standards.

Heading that list (as usual) is South Point, which will host parties Thursday through Sunday with $3 beers, buckets of six for $16 ($2.67 each), and $25 Bloody Mary and margarita pitchers. Right there with South Point is Westgate Las Vegas’ Hoops Central party, with $3 beers and $2 hot dogs. Get $2 drafts and $5 burgers or wings in JC’s at Rampart Casino, while Station Casinos properties and El Cortez offer $2 beers, $1 dogs and shot specials from $2 to $6. (Exception: The $1 dogs don’t apply to Green Valley Ranch, Red Rock and Santa Fe.) The Fremont Street Experience is hosting the sixth annual Downtown Hoopstown with free entertainment, drink specials and the “World’s Largest NCAA Bracket” displayed on the canopy.

This year, two venues deserve special consideration: The Game, the sports bar at the Suncoast, sports 25 TVs and appears as though it was configured specifically for March Madness. And the Sporting Life (7770 S. Jones Blvd.) is the only bar in town to have a full-size and real-time odds board. The place also has wall-to-wall TVs, great food and a giant beer selection. You’ll think you’re in Lagasse’s Stadium (also a great place to watch), except at a fraction of the cost.

Finally, be sure to take advantage of tournament-associated gambling deals. Many local bars have brackets promos and video poker bonuses, while a few casinos will give you something extra for your action. For example, get a logoed T-shirt for a $25 parlay-card wager at the Westgate or for a $100 table-game buy-in at The D or Golden Gate. If you’ve been thinking of funding a mobile betting app, now’s a good time at Stations, where the normal $25 sign-up bonus has been raised to $50 in March.

Hey, free money—the best deal of all!

Anthony Curtis is the publisher of the Las Vegas Advisor.