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The ultimate March Madness in Las Vegas viewing party guide3 March 2017
All three events collide in two weeks in Las Vegas, bringing millions of people to the area for four days of self-indulged debauchery.
Talk about a perfect storm.
Take it from someone who was in Las Vegas last year when this very same trifecta hit the city. As you can imagine, it's absolute mayhem.
Since this is a column dedicated to gambling and those who enjoy playing games of chance, we'll stick to the March Madness part of the equation. The first four days of the NCAA men's basketball tournament are custom-made for watching and betting on the games in Las Vegas. The action is nonstop, fast and furious.
And, as you will see below, there are an abundance of options for taking in the games. It doesn't matter whether you're a diehard college hoop fan (and bettor) and simply need to be in a sportsbook, or you're more of a casual fan who will fill out a single $5 bracket and just want to watch the games casually, there is something for you in the choices below. Just be sure to plan ahead, pace yourself and hydrate.
Finally, before getting to the parties, here are three articles that may be helpful to you before landing at McCarran and kicking off your four-day bender, especially if you are a Las Vegas rookie, or novice sports bettor:
On The StripWestgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino
There's a reason why the sportsbook at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino is called the SuperBook. It's gigantic in so many ways, and it has become one of my all-time favorite venues to watch and wager on sports.
Former NBA star and college hoop legend Thurl Bailey and former Mayor Oscar Goodman will be on hand to kick off the March Madness festivities with viewing options in a variety of locations:
SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino
Umami Burger and Foxtail Pool
SLS Las Vegas, which sits on the former home of Sahara Hotel & Casino, is offering a couple of different options:
The Wynn sportsbook is one of the best on The Strip and is about to get even better when they start a renovation this spring. While it will be difficult to get a seat in the book during March Madness, a great secondary option is the viewing party at Allegro, the resort's casual Italian-American restaurant, which will have multiple TVs. A specialty all-you-can-eat menu is available for $90 per person (excluding tax, gratuity and alcohol) and the regular lunch menu will also be available for those who are not interested in the format.
The Palazzo Resort Hotel Casino and The Venetian Las Vegas
Mercato Della Pescheria
Known for its seafood and Italian entrees, Mercato Della Pescheria, located inside of St. Mark's Square in the Grand Canal Shoppes of Venetian-Palazzo, will be serving $3 Pabst Blue Ribbons and Magic Hat Bottled Beer at the bar while offering Happy Hour pricing as the games are going on, including $6 pepperoni pizzas and $6 martinis.
Madness in March
It's free to enter the viewing party at Treasure Island Resort & Casino (16-18 March). Doors open at 7:30 a.m. in the nonsmoking TI Ballroom with first-come, first-served banquet table seating. The room will have multiple large screen HD TVs, a cash bar and food concessions.
The LINQ Promenade
Virgil's Real Barbecue
The barbecue joint is part of one my new favorite Las Vegas hangouts, The LINQ Promenade, Caesars Entertainment's open-air shopping, dining and entertainment district is also home to the High Roller observation wheel. Virgil's will offer an all-day drinking package for $150 (plus tax and tip) as fans watch the games on multiple big-screen TVs. Guests can also order from the al a carte menu featuring authentic barbecue from the Southern regions. Doors open 30 minutes before each game.
Flamingo Las Vegas
Full Court Packages
The Full Court Packages at The Flamingo are offered 16-18 March. A $149 admission fee includes Miller Lite and Coors Light open bar, all-you-can-eat Time Out Buffet, giant TVs, live betting stations and promotional giveaways with the Miller Lite and Coors Light models.
Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino
Man Cave Packages
Packages for parties of eight or more are available at Planet Hollywood on 18 and 19 March and include exclusive living room viewing areas, private high-end buffet, open premium bar, private TVs and betting stations.
Miracle Mile Shops
Adjacent to Planet Hollywood is the Miracle Mile Shops, and the 1.2-mile retail and entertainment venue is also getting in on the Madness:
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
Hoops & Hops Party
The Hoops & Hops Party returns to The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and after personally attending this all-out bash last year, I highly recommend it.
The sixth-annual viewing party offers reserved seating, single-day or two-day passes on Thursday and Friday. The Belmont Ballroom will be transformed into a sportsbook on steroids and is open from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. In addition to multiple stadium-style television screens, guests can enjoy a number of interactive experiences including access to a hardwood court and regulation basketball hoop, interactive games such as Golden Tee, and an onsite sportsbook.
In addition to an open bar, an array of gourmet stadium fare and game-day snacks will be available, and pass holders can purchase various culinary options from the cash and carry menu.
Three experiences are offered:
Additionally, guests may enjoy the games throughout the resort at the outstanding Race & Sportsbook, that just opened last year, as well as CliQue Bar & Lounge, which will feature additional televisions throughout the venue and food and beverage specials with a $200 minimum.
March Madness Seating
Another option for outside viewing is Beer Park, the new roof-top bar connected to Paris Las Vegas that opened last year. Located on a 10,000-square-foot deck overlooking the Fountains of Bellagio, Beer Park provides an open-air atmosphere with dozens of high-definition TVs, 100 beer options, including 36 brews on tap. Guests must purchase a $150 food and beverage credit in advance for March Madness.
Off The StripHard Rock Hotel & Casino - Las Vegas
Tournament Madness Viewing Parties
Hard Rock's renowned entertainment venue, The Joint, will have high-definition streams of every NCAA game, 16-18 March, along with casino games, a live sports betting station, prize giveaways and numerous party games such as shuffle puck, beer pong and bean bag toss. The party will be hosted by the girls of REHAB Beach Club and will have specialty cash bars featuring a build-your-own Bloody Mary station.
General admission tickets start at $100 per person, per day and include bottomless Budweiser or Bud Light draft beer, unlimited soft drinks and an all-you-can-eat buffet. Upper tier MVP and VIP packages are also available and include personal cocktail server, custom VIP credentials, a personal high-definition TV, premium views of the giant LED screens and more.
Topgolf Las Vegas
This will be the first March Madness for Topgolf Las Vegas, which just opened last May to rave reviews — including from yours truly.
Topgolf is much more than just a driving range. The Yard becomes Hoops Headquarters during March Madness, with an onsite sportsbook, satellite betting stations, more than 300 HDTVs, a full menu, beers and beverages.
From 16-18 March, Topgolf Las Vegas venue and its sportsbook will open at 8 a.m. General admission tickets are $50 per day, or purchase a three-day package for $150 (includes taxes; does not include golf play). Seating is done on a first-come, first-served basis. VIP packages are also available.
South Point Hotel Casino and Spa
March to the Championship Watch Parties
The South Point, located south of The Strip, about a 10-minute drive from Mandalay Bay, is home to the new Vegas Stats and Information Network (VSiN) radio shows that featured Brent Musburger. In addition, the sportsbook is lively and spacious and has two legendary bookmakers running the show – Jimmy Vaccaro and Chris Andrews.
The March to the Championship Watch Parties are free, run from March 16-18 and will include on-site wagering stations, free chair massages and a variety of food and drink specials, including $3 Bud, Bud Light, Bud Light Lime or Shock Top in 12-ounce bottles, $16 buckets of six Budweiser beers; and $25 pitchers of bloody Marys and margaritas.
Boyd Gaming Properties
Tuscany Suites and Casino
The Tuscany is about a 10-minute walk from The Strip, behind Harrah's Las Vegas, and last year it opened PUB 365, an inviting F&B venue with a collection of 365 rotating beers and a menu of traditional pub fare. It also has a nice TV setup, great service and a William Hill sportsbook just steps away.
During March Madness, PUB 365 will offer 16-ounce Budweiser or Bud Light for $3.50 or beer buckets for $16; Four Peaks drafts for $3.65 or pitchers for $14; Joseph James American Flyer Craft Lager drafts for $3.65, or pitchers for $14.
Ellis Island Casino & Brewery
Ellis Island Madness
A block away from the Tuscany, Ellis Island is hosting its first annual Ellis Island Madness event, 16-19 March. Morning (8 a.m.-3 p.m.) and afternoon (3 p.m.-10 p.m.) sessions are available for $30 or get the full day for $50.
Ticket price includes all the Ellis Island beer you can drink, access to the game day buffet, an "Ellis Island Madness” t-shirt, and guaranteed seating. There will also be giveaways throughout the day, and you can earn raffle tickets when you buy additional drinks from the bar.
Palace Station Hotel and Casino
Viewing Party and NBA 2K17 Challenge
Palace Station is offering free admission to its viewing parties, 16-19 March, inside the grand ballroom across four screens. Doors open one hour prior to the first game tip-off. There will be food and beverage specials offered throughout the event, including $5 chicken wings, sliders and premium cocktails; $4 deluxe cocktails, imported beer and wine by the glass; $3 hot dogs, domestic beer and Bud and Bud Light drafts; $2 bags of peanuts and popcorn, soda and water; and $1 bag of chips. Prices good with a valid Boarding Pass.
Palace Station is also hosting an NBA 2K17 Challenge on Friday and Saturday when guests will have a chance to win an Xbox One.
Downtown Las VegasWhenever in Las Vegas, I always try to make it a point to visit the downtown area. Fremont Street is always bubbling with excitement, and last year when March Madness collided with St. Patrick's Day it was an amazing scene, as the Irish revelers and hoop junkies all hit the street at once.
So, if you're looking for a change of pace from The Strip, here are some suggested March Madness spots to hit in DTLV.
El Cortez Hotel & Casino
Brats, Beers and Brackets
El Cortez has undergone a transformation in recent years, and the property is chock full of low table game bet minimums, superb drink specials ($5 margaritas, anyone?) and some chic places to grab a drink, including the Parlour Bar and newly opened Ike's, which offers lounge seating and a sports viewing area with 10 55-inch TVs and three 65-inch screens.
For March Madness, El Cortez, which celebrated its 75th anniversary last year, is hosting a Brats, Beers and Brackets party, with $3 brats, $2 hot dogs and $2 Budweiser in the Fiesta Room, 16-19 March. Admission to the viewing party is free and it's open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The D Las Vegas
The best spot to watch games at The D may be the LONGBAR, which is always lively, but for March Madness VIP Packages inside private Man Caves are available on the 12th floor. Packages are offered for four-, six- or eight-hour blocks and include all-you-can-eat-and-drink with a menu from American Coney Island restaurant, plush leather couches, flat screen TVs, private cocktail servers, sports betting stations from William Hill, table games and more. Call 702.388.2200 for pricing and availability.
Golden Nugget - Las Vegas
March Fever Viewing Party
The Nugget's March Fever Viewing Party includes guaranteed seats in the VIP section, all-you-can-eat stadium style food and four drink tickets valid at premium bar. One-day passes range from $109.25 on Sunday to $228.22 on St. Patrick's Day (including tax and gratuity), or you can save $60 and get a four-day pass for $591.67.
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